Meanings: “Nonpareil”

December 24, 2011

Nonpareils are those round wafer chocolate candies with little white sugar dots on them.  It’s an unusual word that derives from the French, meaning, straightforwardly, “without equal.”  Its use as the name of a kind of candy dates from 1697. (The word also refers to 6-point type in printing, and to a species of brightly colored bird — a painted bunting.)

Robbie and I used nonpareils as roofing tiles on our gingerbread house this year.  Merry Christmas one and all.

About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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1 Response to Meanings: “Nonpareil”

  1. Johan says:

    Congratulations on the very nice gingerbread house, which reminds me of the annual Christmas gingerbread house my mother’s parents always sent us (somehow intact!!) in a package from Stuttgart to Chicago when I was a kid.

    Here’s our gingerbread house, made by students in our kitchen a couple of weeks ago: … Admittedly, it was made from a kit Judy found at Ikea in Moscow. She and the students also made gingerbread cookies. Instead of molasses, they used a mixture made from kvass concentrate (kvass being the carbonated bread beer that is the tasty local version of ginger ale).

    Christmas blessings!!

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