All Words > Madeleine

Tuesday, December 24

Madeleine

[MAD-ə-len]

Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, early 19th century

1.

A small, shell-shaped cake

2.

Something that evokes a memory

Examples of Madeleine in a sentence

"She served her favorite dessert, the madeleine, at her friend’s baby shower."

"A scent can be a powerful madeleine, bringing up strong memories from years ago."

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About Madeleine

A mnemonic is a little more practical than a madeleine, but they both make you remember something. A mnemonic is a saying or phrase that helps you remember information — for example, the order of a mathematical formula. A madeleine might be a string of pearls that makes you remember your grandmother.

Did you Know?

Marcel Proust developed the second sense of this word in his novel, “Remembrance of Things Past.” In it, a character eats a madeleine, which causes a rush of nostalgia. The word can now be used for anything that evokes a strong memory.

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