Definition of gingerbread in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɪndʒəbrɛd/


[mass noun]
1Cake made with treacle or syrup and flavoured with ginger.
Example sentences
  • The castle's chefs are also responsible for the coffee shop fare - look out for fruit cakes, gingerbread and daily specials.
  • This involved all kinds of sweetmeats, tarts, spiced cakes, and gingerbread, consumed with sweet wines.
  • I can imagine Dorothy taking out the ginger to make gingerbread which her brother liked so much.
2 [often as modifier] Elaborate or ornate decoration, especially on the eaves or porch of a building: a high-gabled gingerbread house
More example sentences
  • Yet artists and agents, poets, publishers and refugees from war-torn Europe vied for invitations to pass through that gingerbread porch and spend an evening in New York's most fashionable salon.
  • These 50 hectares are decorated with gingerbread pavilions and bridges; its paths are fringed by gracious palm trees.
  • Small it was, with a picturesque inn, gingerbread houses, and a stinking brewery looming over the landscape a few miles outside of town.


take the gilt off the gingerbread

British Make something no longer attractive or desirable.
Example sentences
  • I have achieved my goal of swimming a mile in a session but I can't stop myself from deducting a yard from every other length, which takes the gilt off the gingerbread.
  • I am sure the fact that he's being included to ‘add interest’ (so help us) will in no way take the gilt off the gingerbread for him.
  • Rather takes the gilt off the gingerbread doesn't it?


Middle English (originally denoting preserved ginger), from Old French gingembrat, from medieval Latin gingibratum, from gingiber (see ginger). The change in the ending in the 15th century was due to association with bread.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: gin¦ger|bread

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.