Open main menu

Wiktionary β


etymology of cappuccinoEdit

There seems to be little disagreement among etymologies that this is named after the order of monks, but I'm not sure that it's the color of their robes, as some dictionaries would have it. I was under the impression that the robes were a much darker shade of brown than the foam on cappuccino. I don't drink coffee myself, so I may be getting things mixed up, but I seem to remember seeing one made with the foam drawn up to a point, which then drooped behind it like the tip at the back of a monk's hood. If this is at all characteristic, then the reference would be to the shape of the hood, not its color.

I know that's the case for the nasturtium, the name of which is a derivative of Capuchin in several European languages: it has a spur at the back of the flower that looks like a very long, straight monk's-hood. If it's the hood that's the point of similarity, than the term may go directly back to the hood (Italian cappuccio), rather than by way of the name for the order, which comes from cappuccio.

As for the capuchin monkey, I may be imagining things, but the pattern on the back of the head of at least some species reminds me of a monastic tonsure.

Am I onto something, stretching it, or totally off-base? Chuck Entz (talk) 09:30, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Huh, I always figured it was just because a cappuccino coffee is "hooded" by having the foam on top -- I had no idea about any link to any specific order.
In fact, I have to wonder if the mention of the Franciscans isn't just because they're also hooded? The difference in color and the lack of resemblance between an actual monk's hood and the dollop of foam on top of a cappuccino coffee makes me think that this Franciscan etymology is a folk etymology. Anyone else know more? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 15:18, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
According to Nocentini, the cappuccino got its name from the colour of the beverage, which reminds of the colour of monks' habit.
Cappuccino is coffee with milk. So it's not the colour of the foam but the colour of the coffee below which looks "franciscan". --MaEr (talk) 17:25, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, that's certainly interesting, but there are various other coffee-with-milk beverages where the coffee is essentially the same color, and that are not described as "cappuccino". The main difference between a latte and a cappuccino, for instance, is the foam added to the top of a cappuccino. Perhaps then it's the combination of the color of the coffee and the "hood" of foam on top? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 20:06, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
We shouldn't expect too much system behind the naming of coffee flavours. I'm pretty sure that no ISO committee was involved and no well-designed naming conventions were followed when coining the name cappuccino. There are more unlogical names for coffee variations. For example: latte macchiato — why do they call it maculatum; they pour coffee into the milk, not macula or dirt. Or caffè americano — I'm sure that this type of coffee is common also in large parts of Europe, not only in America. Or caffè corretto — why should coffee be corrected; is it wrong without alcohol? And so on. No, we should not expect too much logic. --MaEr (talk) 13:58, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

The contents of the etymology section contradicted to the etymological dictionaries and had no reliable sources. For this reason, I have replaced the contents with a link to the Italian section. The English word cappuccino is borrowed from Italian, and the etymology of the Italian word cappuccino should be discussed in the Italian section, not in the English one. --MaEr (talk) 18:08, 19 November 2012 (UTC)


I was always taught at school that it was Cappuccini not Cappuccinos QueenAlexandria (talk) 17:01, 23 Oct 2012 (UTC)

  • The first is Italian, the second English. SemperBlotto (talk) 18:50, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Return to "cappuccino" page.