Pavlova, the type of fruit and meringue dessert, was invented in the early twentieth century, and there's a lot of dispute over who actually came up with it; several eateries in both Australia and New Zealand lay claim to it. The first attestation of the name in the Oxford English Dictionary is from the New Zealand Herald in 1911, which gave the recipe for strawberries pavlova, but it seems that the person who named it is not the same as the person who invented it, because there are recipes for the same dish, just titled "cream cake". It's almost certain that the dessert was named after Anna Pavlova, who was a well-known ballerina at the time, either because they were reminded of her billowy tutu or by how light it was. That's a variant of the name Pavel, which comes from Latin paulus, meaning "small" (also the origin of Paul).
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.