Definition of lagniappe
- The waiter added a cup of lobster bisque as a lagniappe to the meal.
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the meal was served with a lagniappe of freshly made cornbread
the hotel threw in some free shampoo as a lagniappe
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.
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."
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