How Well Do You Know English Slang?
late 13c., gingerbrar, from Old French ginginbrat "ginger preserve," from Medieval Latin gingimbratus "gingered," from gingiber (see ginger). The ending changed by folk etymology to -brede "bread," a formation attested by mid-14c. Originally "preserved ginger," the meaning "a kind of spiced cake" is from 15c. Figurative use, "showy, insubstantial" is from c.1600. Sense of "fussy decoration on a house" is first recorded 1757; gingerbread-work (1748) was a sailor's term for carved decoration on a ship.
: the gingerbread stacks of the old river steamersnoun