[ mad-l-in, mad-l-eyn; French maduh-len ]
/ ˈmæd l ɪn, ˌmæd lˈeɪn; French madəˈlɛn /

noun, plural mad·e·leines [mad-l-inz, mad-l-eynz; French maduh-len] /ˈmæd l ɪnz, ˌmæd lˈeɪnz; French madəˈlɛn/. French Cookery.

a small shell-shaped cake made of flour, eggs, sugar, and butter and baked in a mold.
something that triggers memories or nostalgia: in allusion to a nostalgic passage in Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.

Nearby words

  1. madeira,
  2. madeira cake,
  3. madeira embroidery,
  4. madeira topaz,
  5. madeira vine,
  6. madeline,
  7. madelung's deformity,
  8. madelung's disease,
  9. mademoiselle,
  10. madera

Origin of madeleine

1835–45; < French, earlier gâteau à la Madeleine, after the female given name; the attribution of the recipe to an 18th-century cook named Madeleine Pau(l)mier is unsubstantiated


[ mad-l-in, -lahyn; French maduh-len ]
/ ˈmæd l ɪn, -ˌlaɪn; French madəˈlɛn /


a female given name, form of Magdalene.
Also Mad·e·laine, Mad·e·lene [mad-l-in] /ˈmæd l ɪn/, Mad·e·line, Mad·e·lyn. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for madeleine

British Dictionary definitions for madeleine


/ (ˈmædəlɪn, -ˌleɪn) /


a small fancy sponge cake

Word Origin for madeleine

C19: perhaps after Madeleine Paulmier, French pastry cook

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 madeleine


fem. proper name, variation of Madeline. The kind of small, rich confection is attested from 1845, said in OED to be named for Madeleine Paulmier, 19c. French pastry cook; any use with a sense of "small thing that evokes powerful nostalgia" is due to Proust (1922).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper