la·​gniappe | \ ˈlan-ˌyap How to pronounce lagniappe (audio) , lan-ˈyap\

Definition of lagniappe

: a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase broadly : something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure The waiter added a cup of lobster bisque as a lagniappe to the meal.

Keep scrolling for more

Mark Twain's Thoughts on Lagniappe

We picked up one excellent word, wrote Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi (1883), "a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word-'lagniappe'.... It is Spanish-so they said." Twain encapsulates the history of "lagniappe" quite nicely. English speakers learned the word from French-speaking Louisianians, but they in turn had adapted it from the American Spanish word la ñapa. Twain went on to describe how New Orleanians completed shop transactions by saying "Give me something for lagniappe," to which the shopkeeper would respond with "a bit of liquorice-root, ... a cheap cigar or a spool of thread." It took a while for "lagniappe" to catch on throughout the country, but by the mid-20th century, New Yorkers and New Orleanians alike were familiar with this "excellent word."

Examples of lagniappe in a Sentence

the meal was served with a lagniappe of freshly made cornbread the hotel threw in some free shampoo as a lagniappe

Recent Examples on the Web

That the club's salary cap situation also improved was lagniappe. Jeff Duncan,, "This Pelicans' season has been one of redemption for Dell Demps," 8 May 2018 Jones agreed that the bonds forged through service are a lagniappe of JAS membership. Carol Wolfram,, "Junior Auxiliary of Slidell reunites for golden anniversary," 2 May 2018 Any success in the playoffs looking back should have been lagniappe. Larry Holder,, "From Hakim's drop to Beast Mode's run, a wild history for Saints in wild-card weekend," 7 Jan. 2018 Simply making it to the NFC Divisional round felt like lagniappe after the Saints toppled the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams in the wild-card round. Larry Holder,, "Saints NFC Divisional playoff history: From 'Bring the Wood' to Vernon Davis and Alex Smith," 14 Jan. 2018 The free ticket is lagniappe; her attraction to ushering is membership in a community of kindred spirits. Joanne Kaufman, New York Times, "Nice Work if You Can Get It: Being a Volunteer Usher on Broadway," 6 Mar. 2018 Celebrate Mardi Gras The good times will roll at Jordan Ranch with music, food and lagniappe during a Mardi Gras Bash, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at The Shed, 30757 Jordan Crossing Blvd. Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend County calendar of events," 5 Feb. 2018 At Lagniappe Brasserie in New Berlin, chef Andrew Tenaglia prepares a little gift for his guests, a lagniappe, such as a bite of quiche presented with the flourish of a curly garlic scape in early summer. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Milwaukee 50, with Milwaukee's Top 30 restaurants, ranked," 15 Sep. 2017 There was lagniappe: Disease rates fell because fetid floodwater could be pumped out faster before mosquitoes had a chance to breed there and spread infections., "Draining the swamp: A. Baldwin Wood and the pump that built New Orleans," 14 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lagniappe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of lagniappe

1844, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lagniappe

American French, from American Spanish la ñapa the lagniappe, from la + ñapa, yapa, from Quechua yapa something added

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lagniappe

Listen to Our Podcast about lagniappe

Dictionary Entries near lagniappe


lag line





Lagoa dos Patos

Statistics for lagniappe

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lagniappe

The first known use of lagniappe was in 1844

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on lagniappe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lagniappe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lagniappe

Comments on lagniappe

What made you want to look up lagniappe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!