Pancakes as okonomiyaki and (pa)jeon

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Jan 5 23:23:49 UTC 2013

Of a pancake, the OED says: "A thin flat cake of batter, fried on both sides in a pan."

Both okonomiyaki and jeon (such as pajeon) are often described as pancakes, as they involve batter and being fried on both sides in a pan. Wiktionary ( provides "okonomiyaki" under a "see also" note in the "pancake" entry.

Okonomiyaki ( is written in Japanese as お好み焼き. Searching on Google, a 1959 citation comes up at, but the content cannot be verified. A 1967 citation also comes up ( "Who thinks of Mount Fuji / While eating okonomiyaki / No one but I."

Barry Popik mentions it three times, providing a 1966 citation at;Y6xR8Q;200406130158050400B. He also mentions "Hiroshima okonomiyaki" at;T2sH4w;200004170419280400C. In his;j9DFlA;200405122345110400B post, he includes the word "pancake." Although 12 years have passed since he mentioned it, the OED has not yet picked this word up.

According to Wikipedia (, 煎 (전) is the hanja for jeon, though that does not necessarily mean it comes from China (but see the 1983 article for a Chinese scallion pancake:

The ADS list has a short conversation that includes mention of pajeon (;d75u3g;200806081047030400B), with LH noting that it is a "scallion pancake."

The earliest citation I can find for "pajeon" is 1988 as "P'ajon" (

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society -

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