Welsh rarebit



Corruption of Welsh rabbit.

First attested by Francis Grose in A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue in 1785; he erroneously marked Welsh rabbit as a corruption (inverting the historical order); this idea may have originated with him, or been widespread at the time.[1]


Either identically to rabbit, or as rare-bit.


Welsh rarebit ‎(plural Welsh rarebits)

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  1. a dish of cheese melted with a little ale and served on toast.
    • 1956, Delano Ames, chapter 25, Crime out of Mind[1]:
      Afterwards there was apple-pie and cream and a welsh rarebit. Peregrine said it was almost up to prison fare.

Usage notesEdit

Some object to the use of the term “Welsh rarebit” as a foolish error, and prefer Welsh rabbit.[2]



  1. ^ "When Francis Grose defined Welsh rabbit in A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue in 1785, he mistakenly indicated that rabbit was a corruption of rarebit. It is not certain that this erroneous idea originated with Grose....", Dictionary of English Usage, p. 592
  2. ^ "Welsh Rabbit is amusing and right. Welsh Rarebit is stupid and wrong.", Fowler, H. W., A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Oxford University Press, 1926