1. a long thin loaf of bread made in the French style, soft inside and hard outside
2. a diamond or other stone cut in a long narrow shape
Origin and usage
Baguette is a French word that derives from an Italian term, ‘bacchetto’ which is a diminutive of ‘bacchio’ meaning stick or pole. The word was first used in the 18th century to refer to an architectural feature, a small moulding that is semicircular in section; the ‘precious stone’ meaning came into use in English in the early part of the 20th century, while the most familiar meaning, referring to what we think of as the classic French loaf, dates only from the middle of the last century.
Although the French had been eating bread made from white flour baked into long thin shapes since the 18th century, this type of loaf only started to be referred to as a baguette in the 1920s. As it grew increasingly familiar to Uk residents with the explosion of foreign travel following World War 2, the baguette became as indissolubly associated with the French in the public mind as the beret, the striped Breton T-shirt and the string of onions. Although baguettes have long been available in British supermarkets, as with so many other imported edible treats (the croissant, the pizza) the versions on sale here often bear only a passing rememblance to the original in terms of taste, texture, even appearance.
“My mother worked in a chocolate factory, so when I came home from school, I had a piece of baguette with dark chocolate in it.”
(Jean-Goerge Vongerichten, French chef)
French bread, French loaf, French stick