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[puhm-per-nik-uh l] /ˈpʌm pərˌnɪk əl/
a coarse, dark, slightly sour bread made of unbolted rye.
Origin of pumpernickel
1750-60; < German Pumpernickel orig., an opprobrious name for anyone considered disagreeable, equivalent to pumper(n) to break wind + Nickel hypocoristic from of Nikolaus Nicholas (cf. nickel); presumably applied to the bread from its effect on the digestive system Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pumpernickel
Historical Examples
  • It will be as small as the Grand Duchy of pumpernickel—but there will be room to put up a friend.

  • pumpernickel cut in slices, dried in an oven and rolled fine may also be used.

    Desserts and Salads Gesine Lemcke
  • We peppered and paprikaed it, salted and spiced it, then spread it thicker than butter on pumpernickel and went to it.

    The Complete Book of Cheese Robert Carlton Brown
  • There was also a great dish of pumpernickel besides the usual food.

    Pointed Roofs Dorothy Richardson
  • Printing, brewing and distilling are also carried on, and the town is famous for its rye-bread (pumpernickel).

  • I am going to visit the old haunts of my youth at pumpernickel.

    Men's Wives William Makepeace Thackeray
  • "I am glad to know you," said I, as pumpernickel introduced us.

    Over the Plum Pudding John Kendrick Bangs
  • Spread this on thin slices of brown bread or pumpernickel, put two together, press lightly and cut into long, narrow shapes.

    Sandwiches Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer
  • You will find that there is something wrong with your passport, and you will be sent on to pumpernickel for examination.

    Selected Stories Bret Harte
  • From a German bake shop get the bread, either "Kummel," (which is rye with caraway seeds), or pumpernickel.

    Suppers Paul Pierce
British Dictionary definitions for pumpernickel


a slightly sour black bread, originating in Germany, made of coarse rye flour
Word Origin
C18: from German, of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pumpernickel

"dark rye bread," 1756, pompernickel, from German (Westphalian dialect) Pumpernickel (1663), originally an abusive nickname for a stupid person, from pumpern "to break wind" + Nickel "goblin, lout, rascal," from proper name Niklaus (see Nicholas). An earlier German name for it was krankbrot, literally "sick-bread."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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