bei·gnet (bĕn-yā, bĕnyā′)
1. A square doughnut with no hole: "a New Orleans coffeehouse selling beignets, an insidious Louisianian cousin of the doughnut that exists to get powdered sugar on your face" (Los Angeles Times).
2. A fritter.
[French, fritter, from Old French, from diminutive of beigne, bump, lump, of Celtic origin; akin to Welsh bôn, stump, base.]
Our Living Language New Orleans, Louisiana, has been a rich contributor of French loan words and local expressions to American English. Many New Orleans words, such as beignet, café au lait, faubourg, lagniappe, and krewe, reflect the New World French cuisine and culture characterizing this region. Other words reflect distinctive physical characteristics of the city: banquette, a raised sidewalk, and camelback and shotgun, distinctive architectural styles found among New Orleans houses.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.