The word baguette came to us in the late fifteenth century from Old French baguelette. -Ette is just a diminutive suffix meaning "small", so we can eliminate that to better analyze the root, baguel, which meant "twist". It makes sense that baguette would mean "small twist", because there is a faint rotating pattern on the top of the bread. That's interesting in itself, but what's really fascinating is how the term is related to our current word bagel, which is also a twist and comes directly from the Old French noun. Another cognate is bugle, the type of instrument, which adopted the "twist" definition in German as bugel due to the characteristic loop in the horn. All three of these words eventually can be traced back to Latin bucure, which meant "to twist" and derives from a Proto-Indo-European reconstruction, bheg, also "twist". Also, if you haven't gathered from the title, that was entirely fake, but it seemed awfully real, didn't it? You never know when I could be lying to you... Happy April Fool's Day!
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.