Definitions

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

  • n. A small rich cake, baked in a shell-shaped mold.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small gateau or sponge cake, often shaped like an elongated scallop shell.
  • n. Something which brings back a memory; a source of nostalgia or evocative memories (used with reference to its function in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time).

Etymologies

After Madeleine Paulmier, 19th-century French pastry cook.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French madeleine, earlier gâteau à la Madeleine, of uncertain origin; attributed in some sources to a 19th-century pastry cook Madeleine Paulmier whose existence is now considered dubious. (Compare Oxford English Dictionary, Trésor de la Langue Française) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The first is a crossing of a French table grape called madeleine angevin with the much frowned-upon muller-thurgau.

    Will this be English wine's best ever year?

  • Shortly after the book begins the narrator describes a moment on a wintry day when, chilled to the bone, his mother brings him a cup of tea with a little cake called a madeleine on the side.

    Emancipation

  • The cricket writer Mike Marqusee once said that cricket sometimes acts on him the way the tea-cake called a madeleine acted on Marcel Proust, triggering a hidden chain of association, an entryway to what the French novelist called 'a vast structure of recollection '.

    Hindustan Times News Feeds 'Views'

  • Nurse sex harassment allegations made moot coca is calling madeleine is.

    We Heart Gossip: The hottest celebrity gossip news - hearted or hated by you!

  • -- Emily Flynn VencatCopenhagen: Madeleines MadteaterThe "madeleine" comes from the little cake Marcel Proust wistfully described in "Remembrance of Things Past."

    The Good Life

  • For generations of adults, the simple word-series "amo, amare, amavi, amatus" used to act as a kind of madeleine, calling to mind long classroom hours spent conjugating Latin verbs (including this one, meaning "love"), then exploring Gaul in its three parts and eventually trying to puzzle out the syntax of the rugged lines that followed "Arma virumque cano," the opening phrase of Virgil's "The Aeneid."

    The Ne Plus Ultra of Languages

  • My sister and I felt socially deprived because we couldn't sit on the pub steps waiting for crisps and lemonade like our pals - while the air was filled with the sound of the piano and singing - and the "madeleine" smell of beer and cigarette smoke.

    BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition

  • Then, the SPD team had to spell one more word correctly to affirm the result, and Leos - who on Wednesday predicted a win for the SPD team based on Stubbs's spelling prowess - correctly spelled the word, "madeleine" and it was over.

    The Gazette-Enterprise: News

  • Freud shows up on page 53; Proust’s "madeleine" 99 pages later; Eve Ensler is sandwiched somewhere in between.

    Archive 2004-09-01

  • Waiters circulated with trays of madeleine cookies—Marcel Proust's favorite treat in "Remembrance of Things Past."

    Toned-Down Galliano Draws Curious Crowd

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.