Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


1.a soft brown sweet food made from sugar, butter, and milk or cream

2. a sweet soft chocolate that is spread on cakes or poured over ice cream

3. a method of dealing with a problem that does not solve it completely but hides its difficulties

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

Fudge started life as a verb, in the early 17th century, and only started to be used as a noun (and an interjection) in the 18th century. The verb, which came from the similar-sounding ‘fadge’, originally meant ‘to turn out as expected’, and later ‘to fit together in a clumsy or dishonest way’. The word was used as an interjection meaning ‘nonsense’ from the mid 18th century, while the confectionery meaning, which is the most common one today, dates from the end of the 19th century.


Fudge is a type of sweet made from sugar, butter, and milk or cream, often with other flavourings added. The second sense above is mainly used in American English, while the third sense is British. A fudge in the non-confectionery sense is a makeshift or unsatisfactory solution to a problem that is designed to smooth it over rather than actually solve it. It derives from the verb to fudge, meaning to avoid giving a clear decision or answer, or to manipulate facts or information. Typical objects of the verb are words like ‘issues’ and ‘truth’, as well as ‘numbers’, ‘figures’, ‘statistics’, ‘data’. Both noun and verb are used mainly in political contexts. The point of a fudge is that its intentional ambiguity allows all parties to believe (or claim) that they have got what they wanted, and therefore to accept the apparent solution before moving on. The point of the sweet, on the other hand, is simply to be delicious.


Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.
(Kurt Vonnegut)

“So,” sneered Fudge, recovering himself, “you intend to take on Dawlish, Shacklebolt, Dolores, and myself single-handed, do you, Dumbledore?” “Merlin’s beard, no,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “Not unless you are foolish enough to force me to.”
(J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

Related words

way out, fix, compromise, stopgap

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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