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1610s, from French omelette (16c.), metathesis of alemette (14c.), from alemele "omelet," literally "blade (of a knife or sword)," probably a misdivision of la lemelle (mistaken as l'alemelle), from Latin lamella "thin, small plate," diminutive of lamina "plate, layer" (see laminate). The food so called from its flat shape. The proverb "you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs" (1859) translates French On ne saurait faire une omelette sans casser des oeufs. Middle English had hanonei "fried onions mixed with scrambled eggs" (mid-15c.).