pfeffernuss, n.‘ A small, round, sweet biscuit flavoured with spices such as ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, etc., and typically eaten during the Christmas season. Usu. in pl.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈ(p)fɛfənʊs/, U.S. /ˈ(p)fɛfərˌnəs/
Inflections: Plural pfeffernüsse, pfeffernuesse, pfeffernusse, pfeffernussen.
Forms: 18– pfeffernuss, 19– peffernissen U.S. regional (Pennsylvania), plural, 19– pfeffernuß. Also as two words and with capital initial(s).
Etymology: < German Pfeffernuss gingerbread biscuit (1741 or earlier; < Pfeffer pepper n. + Nuss nut n.1). Compare Dutch pepernoot (1778), German regional (Low German) Pepernööt (plural), Danish pebernød (1710). Compare the earlier calque peppernut n.
In plural form peffernissen after Pennsylvania German pefferniss (plural peffernissen; compare German regional (Palatinate) Peffernuß, plural Pefferniß).
A small, round, sweet biscuit flavoured with spices such as ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, etc., and typically eaten during the Christmas season. Usu. in pl.
1891 Los Angeles Times 22 Nov. 14 (advt.) Pfeffernusse and Lebkuchen at Jevne’s.
1928 E. E. Hoyt Consumption of Wealth viii. 76 A German woman moved into a small New England village, and in three years all the housewives were making pfeffernüsse at Christmas time.
1969 N.Y. Times 20 Dec. 24/1 For Christmas, baking and giving Bremen pfeffernusse—crisp, cinnamon-cardamom flavored rolled cookies—has been a tradition in the Luhrs home for generations.
1998 Christian Sci. Monitor (Electronic ed.) 24 Dec. 15 She would come down three flights, tousle my hair, and give me a Pfeffernuss.