Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Thu Mar 6 18:30:40 UTC 2003

I can't answer the question about the route that Dutch "koekje" took to
become AE "cookie," but at least I can muddy the waters.  The Dutch spoken
in the Netherlands today, at least, also has the word "beschuit," which
refers to something like the English Peek Freans "biscuits": packaged
store-bought products that are less sweet and slightly harder than homemade
cookies.  "Koekjes" are like the American homemade cookies.  It may be
possible to buy koekjes in a store, though I never had any but homemade.
In any case they are two different things.

Peter Mc.

--On Thursday, March 6, 2003 1:04 PM -0500 "James A. Landau"
<JJJRLandau at AOL.COM> wrote:

> In a message dated 3/1/2003 7:20:30 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> Bapopik at AOL.COM writes:
>> [for "cookie"] Merriam-Webster and other sources have 1703, from the
>> Dutch "koekje," or "little cake."    <snip>
>> by Henry Hexham
>> Rotterdam: Aernovt Leers
>> 1648
>> _een Koeck_, A Cake.
>> _een koecksken_, A little Cake.
>> <etc.>
> This raises (like yeast) a thought:  What is called a "cookie" in the US
> is called a "biscuit" by the British (I don't know about the Canadians),
> whereas in the US "biscuit" means either "a small quick bread..."
> (MWCD10) or seabiscuit/hardtack.
> Why?  And why the unusual singular ending "-ie"?
> It's been pointed out on ADS-L that in the 16th and 18th Centuries the
> British and Dutch fought a few wars and had a long-standing commercial
> rivalry, leading to the British using "Dutch" as a disparaging or
> perjorative term.  I suppose you could call this the "Gook Syndrome".
> On the other hand, traditionally in the US the Dutch are thought of in
> much friendlier fashion as those people from New Amsterdam.
> It seems an obvious guess that "cookie" entered American English via New
> Amsterdam, bypassing British English.  Does anyone know if this be true?
> Are there other terms that entered English from Dutch via New Amsterdam?
> The only one I can think of is "Santa Claus", whom I think the British
> call "Father Christmas".  Well, there is the made-up "Rip van Winkle".
> MWCD10 suggests a reason for the spelling: "cookie" is derived from Dutch
> " koekje" and the "-ie" is an Anglicization of Dutch "-je".
>                       - Jim Landau
> PS Is the nickname "Peg-leg Pete" due to Peter Stuyvesant, who did have a
> pegleg?

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at

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