Definition of marzipan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmärzəˌpan/
Pronunciation: /ˈmärtsəˌpan/


1A sweet, yellowish paste of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites, often colored and used to make small cakes or confections or as an icing for larger cakes. Also called almond paste.
Example sentences
  • It is distinguished by the use of marzipan or almond paste.
  • Cakes and desserts made of fruits and marzipan, a sweet almond paste, are sold in pastry shops and on the streets.
  • In the larder stood a huge Christmas cake covered with marzipan and thick white icing, which Beth had baked several months ago.
1.1A confection or cake made of or based on marzipan.
Example sentences
  • That includes the ever-popular plum cake, plum pudding and Yule log, marzipans glittering with a coat of sugar, and delightful creations such as nougat, truffle and gateaux.
  • It was clear that the merry season of Yule logs, plum pudding, fruitcakes, marzipans, macaroons and roast turkey had not yet come to a close.
  • Their famous Champagne Truffles, pralines and marzipans are hand-made and flown in weekly from Switzerland.


Late 15th century (as marchpane): from Italian marzapane, possibly from Arabic. The form marchpane (influenced by March and obsolete pain 'bread') was more usual until the late 19th century, when marzipan (influenced by German, which has the same spelling) displaced it.

  • The sugary paste used on cakes has taken an exotic journey starting at the port of Martaban on the coast of southeast Burma (Myanmar), once famous for the glazed jars it exported, containing preserves and sweets. In the course of a long trek through Persian and Arabic into European languages, the name Martaban transmuted into Italian marzapane, with a shift of meaning from the container to its contents. From the 16th to the 19th centuries the usual form in English was marchpane. It was not until the 19th century, when English reborrowed the Italian word, that marzipan became established.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mar·zi·pan

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