Word for Wednesday: Mince Pie

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December’s Word for Wednesday theme is festive food and drink

Last week we looked at mulled wine and today’s chosen treat is mince pies

Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no doubt that the mince pie is a Christmas staple here in the UK. A mince pie is a round sweet pie that is filled with mincemeat (a mixture of dried fruits, fat, and spices). Originally mince pies would have contained meat, but today they are usually made without. 

Although early versions of this pie often went by other names – 'mutton pie', 'Christmas pie', 'shrid pie' – the name mince pie dates to around 1600. The word mincemeat dates to 1850. Mince pie has also been used as rhyming slang for ‘eye’ since at least 1857.

The word mince comes from the late-fourteenth century word ‘mincen’ meaning ‘to chop’, which comes from the French ‘mincier’ meaning ‘make into small pieces’, from the Vulgar Latin ‘minutiare’ meaning ‘make small’. ‘Minutiare’ comes from the Latin ‘minutus’ meaning ‘small’.

Pie dates to at least 1300 but is probably older. It comes from the Medieval Latin ‘pie’ meaning ‘meat or fish enclosed in pastry’.

Do you like mince pies?


09 Dec 2020
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