Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!
sauce made from egg yolks, oil, and vinegar, 1815, from French sauce mayonnaise (1806), said by French sources to be corrupted from mahonnaise and to have been named in recognition of Mahon, seaport capital of island of Minorca, captured by France 1756 after the defeat of the British defending fleet in the Seven Years' War; the sauce having been introduced either in commemoration of the victory, which was led by Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu (1696–1788), or because it was brought to France from there by him. But unless there is a gap in the record, the late date of appearance of the word make this seem doubtful.
cold sauce originating in French cuisine, an emulsion of raw egg yolks and vegetable oil. As the yolks are continuously beaten, oil is added little by little until a thick cream results. Plain mayonnaise is flavoured with lemon juice, mustard, or vinegar.