[Sca-cooks] On Nattes

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Thu Jun 24 06:03:06 PDT 2010

> Is the English word wafer a variant of the word waffle?  If so, maybe
> wafer is not the best translation for the word oblaten.  They sound
> positively nummy, at any rate!
> Katherine

In English, wafer to a thin crisp cake, biscuit or candy.  Ecclesiastically, 
it refers to the Eucharist, which is a thin disk of unleavened bread.  The 
word derives from Old French and is of Germanic origin.  A waffle is a light 
batter cake produced in a heated iron.  In practice, waffles are commonly 
thicker and softer than wafers.  The word derives from the Middle Dutch, 
wafel.  Since Oblate(n) is used to refer to the consecrated host, it is more 
correctly translated as wafer.  Wafer and waffle can both be translated as 
die Waffle.

Middle Dutch was used from the mid-12th through the 15th Centuries, so the 
origin of waffle is early enough.  Waffle is primarily used in U.S. English 
and only begins appear there in print in the very early 19th Century.  The 
spelling of die Waffle makes me think that it may have been adopted into 
German from English and is thus a modern artifact rather than one that might 
occur in the 15th or 16th Centuries.  So, waffle may be a poor choice of 
translation in most cases.

It does occur to me that I do not know the meaning of wafel (it might 
translate to wafer) and I do not have a Dutch-English dictionary available 
to me (translation programs do not handle variations in meaning or 
synonyms).  So hopefully someone working in the Dutch corpus can provide 
some enlightenment.


More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list