Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A dark molasses cake flavored with ginger.
  • n. A soft molasses and ginger cookie cut in various shapes, sometimes elaborately decorated.
  • n. Elaborate ornamentation.
  • n. Superfluous or tasteless embellishment, especially in architecture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of cake whose main flavouring is ginger and that is typically cut into human-shaped pieces called gingerbread men or built into house-shaped cakes called gingerbread houses.
  • n. A flamboyant Victorian-era architectural style.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of plain sweet cake seasoned with ginger, and sometimes made in fanciful shapes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having a fanciful shape, such as is often given to gingerbread; showy but unsubstantial or inartistic: (see gingerbread-work); as, gingerbread fittings on a yacht.
  • n. A kind of sweet cake flavored with ginger, it is often made in fanciful shapes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. cake flavored with ginger

Etymologies

Middle English gingebred, a stiff pudding, preserved ginger, alteration (influenced by bred, bread, bread) of Old French gingembrat, from Medieval Latin *gingibr─ütum, from gingiber, ginger; see ginger.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French gingembras, gingimbrat, preserved ginger, from medieval Latin *gingi(m)br?t-um, (ginger that perhaps had a pharmaceutical use for some medicinal preparation), from medieval Latin gingiber, ginger. The third syllable was early confounded with bread, and the insertion of an r in the second syllable completed the semblance of a compound word. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • *tosses a gingerbread fuflun at hernesheir*

    December 16, 2010

  • Hot gingerbread with whipped cream would taste good about now.

    December 14, 2010

  • They flanked opposite ends of the house and were probably architectural absurdities, redeemed in a measure indeed by not being wholly disengaged nor of a height too pretentious, dating, in their gingerbread antiquity, from a romantic revival that was already a respectable past.
    --Henry James, 1898, The Turn of the Screw

    November 19, 2009

  • Also heavily, gaudily, and superfluously ornamented

    Commonly used in reference to late 19th century Victorian architecture

    February 17, 2008