How Did Fritters Get Their Name?
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Posted on 25 Aug 2014 20:06

The word fritter might be used to describe any kind of fried batter concoction, but it specifically refers to fruit, vegetable, or even meat that is battered and fried in oil. The fruit, vegetable or meat may be solid pieces, or minced, or mashed. As well, they may be surrounded by batter or incorporated into the batter itself.

Although most people think of apple or other battered fruit, the word fritter is actually used to describe a wide variety of fried items.

Fritter derives from the Late Latin frictura, meaning "a fry." Frictura, in turn, derived from the Latin berb frigere which meant "to fry" or "to roast." Our word fry obviously derives from this word as well.

Words such as frittata and fricasse also owe part of their origin to these roots.

the word frizzy, referring to hair that looks tightly curled and dry, has similar origins.

Words like frizz or frizzling once meant to fry something so that it made a sizzling noise and turned into crispy curls and this meaning was extended to hair.

The verb fritter, as in "to fritter away your time" comes from an unrelated origin, the Latin word fractura, meaning "broken into small fragments."

1. Cresswell, Julia. The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010.
2. Ayto, John, and John Ayto. The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food & Drink. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012.
3. Morton, Mark. Cupboard Love 2 a Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities. Toronto: Insomniac, 2004.

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