Late Middle English blancmanger, from Old French blanc mangier, from blanc 'white' + mangier 'eat' (used as a noun to mean 'food'). The shortened form without -er arose in the 18th century.
In medieval times a blancmange was a dish of white meat or fish in a cream sauce—the ‘dessert’ sense seems to have come into use in the middle of the 16th century. The word is from Old French blanc mangier and literally means ‘white food’. Other words from French blanc include blanch (Middle English), blank (Middle English), and blanket (Middle English). Originally blanket referred to undyed (hence ‘white’) woollen cloth used for clothing. A dampened blanket would sometimes be used to extinguish a fire before going to bed. This is the origin of a wet blanket, a term for someone who spoils other people's fun by refusing to join in or by showing disapproval.
For editors and proofreaders
Definition of blancmange in:
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.