Definition of madeleine
1 : a small rich shell-shaped cake
2 : one that evokes a memory
Did You Know?
The madeleine is said to have been named after a 19th-century French cook named Madeleine Paumier, but it was the French author Marcel Proust who immortalized the pastry in his 1913 book Swann's Way, the first volume of his seven-part novel Remembrance of Things Past. In that work, a taste of tea-soaked cake evokes a surge of memory and nostalgia. As more and more readers chewed on the profound mnemonic power attributed to a mere morsel of cake, the word madeleine itself became a designation for anything that evokes a memory.
Origin and Etymology of madeleine
French, perhaps from Madeleine Paumier, 19th century French pastry cook
First Known Use: 1829
Learn More about madeleine
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about madeleine
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up madeleine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).