waffle

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See also: Waffle

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

A waffle (sense 1).
The underside of a waffle floor (sense 3).

Etymology 1[edit]

The noun is borrowed from Dutch wafel (waffle; wafer),[1] from Middle Dutch wafel, wafele, wavel, from Old Dutch *wāvila, from Proto-Germanic *wēbilǭ, *wēbilō, possibly related to Proto-Indo-European *webʰ- (to braid, weave) (whence Dutch weven (to weave) and English weave), and possibly reinforced by German Waffel (waffle; wafer). The English word is a doublet of wafer and gauffre.

The verb (“to smash”) derives from the manner in which batter is pressed into the shape of a waffle between the two halves of a waffle iron.

Noun[edit]

waffle (plural waffles)

  1. (countable) A flat pastry pressed with a grid pattern, often eaten hot with butter and/or honey or syrup.
    The brunch was waffles with strawberries and whipped cream.
  2. (countable, Britain) In full potato waffle: a savoury flat potato cake with the same kind of grid pattern.
  3. (construction, also attributively) A concrete slab used in flooring with a gridlike structure of ribs running at right angles to each other on its underside.
    • 1970, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, Manual of Standard Practice
      Both joists and slab are cast in place to form a monolithic unit, integral with the supporting beams and columns. The joists form a characteristic waffle pattern on the underside. Structural design of joist construction: one-way or waffle flat slab []
    • 1993, Harry Parker, James Ambrose, Simplified Engineering for Architects and Builders:
      The most widely used type of waffle construction is the waffle flat slab, in which solid portions around column supports are [] These beams may be produced as projections below the waffle, as shown []
    • 2008, Edward G. Nawy, Concrete Construction Engineering Handbook, CRC Press (→ISBN), page 9:
      In one-way (pan joist) and two-way (waffle) joist construction, a similar layout is usually adopted.
  4. (textiles, chiefly attributively) A type of fabric woven with a honeycomb texture.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

waffle (third-person singular simple present waffles, present participle waffling, simple past and past participle waffled)

  1. (transitive, slang) To smash (something).
    • 1995, Peter Allen David, The Incredible Hulk: What savage beast:
      The cab was waffled in between the two, Marsh never having a prayer or even a full comprehension of what happened to him. He was crushed flat, never even hearing the deafening screech of metal.
    • 1997, Bill Conlin, Kevin Kerrane (editor), "Batting cleanup, Bill Conlin", page 121:
      These were not the Cowboys who were waffled, 45–14, here at mid-season. They came prepared to play a championship football game, with an ultra-conservative game plan suited to the horrendous turf conditions, and came close to pulling it off [...]
    • 2005, Shawn Michaels, with Aaron Feigenbaum, Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story, Page 47:
      Then I waffled him and knocked him down. Why I cut myself open with the razor, I'm not completely sure. I was like the idiot in a bar who gets all worked up and smashes a bottle over his head [...]
    • 2006, Gordon Forbes, Tales from the Eagles Sideline (updated edition), page 2:
      Bednarik, however, says the play became legendary only because of the circumstances. "I did it [...] to the top honcho. He just happened to be there and the pass was thrown to him. I waffled him cleanly." [...] "He just cold-cocked Frank," said linebacker Bob Pellegrini, whose injury sent Bednarik into the game to play defense.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

The verb is borrowed from Scots waffle (to waver, flap, flutter),[2] from waff (to wag, wave; to flap, flutter)[3] + -le (diminutive or frequentative suffix).[4] Waff is derived from Early Scots waff (signal; gust of wind; glimpse; a flapping, waving), from Northern Middle English wafe, waffe, a variant of waven (to move to and fro, sway; to stray, wander; (figuratively) to follow a weaving course; (figuratively) to vacillate, waver; to move something to and fro, wave) (whence wave), from Old English wafian (to wave),[3][5] from Proto-Germanic *wabōną, *wabjaną (to sway; to wander), from Proto-Indo-European *webʰ- (to braid, weave).

Regarding sense 5 (“to speak or write (something) at length without any clear aim or point”), compare Old English wæflian (to talk foolishly), possibly ultimately from Proto-Germanic *babalōną (to babble, chatter), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰā- (to say) and/or Proto-Indo-European *baba- (to talk vaguely; to mumble). The Oxford English Dictionary does not derive the English word waffle from this Old English word.

The noun is derived from the verb.[6][7]

Verb[edit]

waffle (third-person singular simple present waffles, present participle waffling, simple past and past participle waffled)

  1. (intransitive) To speak or write evasively or vaguely.
    Synonym: beat around the bush
    • 1970, John Galloway, The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, page 115:
      Again the answer was "waffled," for this did not say that no air units had been alerted. Only that none had been "identified." Moreover, the reply concerned air "unit[s]" as opposed to "air craft".
  2. (intransitive) Of a bird: to move in a side-to-side motion while descending before landing.
    Synonym: whiffle
    The geese waffled as they approached the water.
  3. (intransitive, aviation, road transport, colloquial) Of an aircraft or motor vehicle: to travel in a slow and unhurried manner.
  4. (intransitive, originally Northern England, Scotland, colloquial) To be indecisive about something; to dither, to vacillate, to waver.
    Synonym: blow hot and cold
    • 2011, Tony Hefner, Between the Fences:
      I waffled between going to the deposition and going to the doctor's. Wishing Barbara was there, I decided to call the doctor afterward.
    • 2022 January 25, Katrin Bennhold, “Where Is Germany in the Ukraine Standoff? Its Allies Wonder.”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      But as Germany struggles to overcome its post-World War II reluctance to lead on security matters in Europe and set aside its instinct to accommodate rather than confront Russia, Europe’s most pivotal country has waffled in the first crucial test for the new government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
  5. (transitive, intransitive) Often followed by on: to speak or write (something) at length without any clear aim or point; to ramble.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:prattle
    • 1976 Tony Hatch, So you want to be in the music business, Everest Books, p68
      Unless you have a great line in gags or repartee don't waffle on aimlessly to your audience, or make in-jokes among yourselves, the band or the compere/DJ.
    • 1984 "Apiary Antics- No.5," British bee journal, Volumes 112-113, p68
      Before getting down to the nitty gritty of beekeeping, most contributors to BBJ like to waffle on for a bit about the weather, the state of their garden or something equally inconsequential.
    • 2005 Bill Condon, No Worries, Univ. of Queensland Press, p78
      She waffled on for ages. Usually I'd say something smart or make it obvious that I wasn't interested and couldn't be bothered listening.
    • 2006 Carl Storm, A Mighty Fine Way to Live and Die, Backstrap Ltd, p8
      The whole thing ended suddenly when the hotel manager arrived. He waffled on for a bit; this settled everyone down.
  6. (transitive) To hold horizontally and rotate (one's hand) back and forth in a gesture of ambivalence or vacillation.
    • 2007, Michael Koryta, Sorrow’s Anthem, Macmillan, →ISBN, page 146:
      [] You get anything useful on the background checks?” / He waffled his hand. “Nothing like what you brought back, but still some interesting notes. []
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

waffle (uncountable)

  1. (colloquial) (Often lengthy) speech or writing that is evasive or vague, or pretentious.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:chatter
    This interesting point seems to get lost a little within a lot of self-important waffle.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Possibly from waff ((dialectal) to bark, woof) (imitative of a dog’s yelp)[6][8] + -le (diminutive or frequentative suffix).

Verb[edit]

waffle (third-person singular simple present waffles, present participle waffling, simple past and past participle waffled)

  1. (intransitive, Britain, dialectal) Of a dog: to bark with a high pitch like a puppy, or in muffled manner.

Noun[edit]

waffle (plural waffles)

  1. (Britain, dialectal) The high-pitched sound made by a young dog; also, a muffled bark.
See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ waffle, n.1”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1921; “waffle2, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  2. ^ waffle, v., n., adj.”, in The Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries, 2004–, OCLC 57069714, reproduced from W[illiam] Grant and D[avid] D. Murison, editors, The Scottish National Dictionary, Edinburgh: Scottish National Dictionary Association, 1931–1976, →OCLC.
  3. 3.0 3.1 waff, v.1, n.1”, in The Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries, 2004–, OCLC 57069714, reproduced from W[illiam] Grant and D[avid] D. Murison, editors, The Scottish National Dictionary, Edinburgh: Scottish National Dictionary Association, 1931–1976, →OCLC.
  4. ^ -le, suff.”, in The Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries, 2004–, OCLC 57069714, reproduced from W[illiam] Grant and D[avid] D. Murison, editors, The Scottish National Dictionary, Edinburgh: Scottish National Dictionary Association, 1931–1976, →OCLC.
  5. ^ wāven, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 waffle, n.2”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1921.
  7. ^ waffle1, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  8. ^ Compare “waff, v.3”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1921; Joseph Wright, editor (1905), “WAFFLE, v.2 and sb.1”, in The English Dialect Dictionary: [], volume VI (T–Z, Supplement, Bibliography and Grammar), London: Henry Frowde, [], publisher to the English Dialect Society, []; New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, OCLC 81937840, page 357, column 2.

Further reading[edit]


Portuguese[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Unadapted borrowing from English waffle.

Noun[edit]

waffle m or f (in variation) (plural waffles)

  1. waffle (type of flat pastry)

Spanish[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • wafle (less frequent spelling)

Etymology[edit]

Unadapted borrowing from English waffle.

Noun[edit]

waffle m (plural waffles)

  1. (Latin America) waffle (type of flat pastry)
    Synonym: (Spain) gofre

Related terms[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

According to Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) prescriptions, unadapted foreign words should be written in italics in a text printed in roman type, and vice versa, and in quotation marks in a manuscript text or when italics are not available. In practice, this RAE prescription is not always followed.