a type of cake flavored with ginger and molasses.
a rolled cookie similarly flavored, often cut in fanciful shapes, and sometimes frosted.
elaborate, gaudy, or superfluous architectural ornamentation: a series of gables embellished with gingerbread.


heavily, gaudily, and superfluously ornamented: a gingerbread style of architecture.

Nearby words

  1. ginger jar,
  2. ginger lily,
  3. ginger nut,
  4. ginger up,
  5. ginger wine,
  6. gingerbread palm,
  7. gingerbread plum,
  8. gingerbread tree,
  9. gingerly,
  10. gingerroot

Origin of gingerbread

1250–1300; Middle English gingebreed (influenced by breed bread), variant of gingebrad, -brat ginger paste < Old French gingembras, -brat preserved ginger < Medieval Latin *gingi(m)brātum a medicinal preparation (neuter past participle), derivative of Latin gingiber ginger

Related formsgin·ger·bread·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gingerbread

British Dictionary definitions for gingerbread



a moist brown cake, flavoured with ginger and treacle or syrup
  1. a rolled biscuit, similarly flavoured, cut into various shapes and sometimes covered with icing
  2. (as modifier)gingerbread man
  1. an elaborate but unsubstantial ornamentation
  2. (as modifier)gingerbread style of architecture
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gingerbread



late 13c., gingerbrar, from Old French ginginbrat "ginger preserve," from Medieval Latin gingimbratus "gingered," from gingiber (see ginger). The ending changed by folk etymology to -brede "bread," a formation attested by mid-14c. Originally "preserved ginger," the meaning "a kind of spiced cake" is from 15c. Figurative use, "showy, insubstantial" is from c.1600. Sense of "fussy decoration on a house" is first recorded 1757; gingerbread-work (1748) was a sailor's term for carved decoration on a ship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper