From Middle Dutch hagelslach (“severe hailstorm”). Equivalent to hagel (“hail”) + slag (“blow, hit”). As a term for a type of sweet, it originally referred to elongated white aniseed sprinkles as they were thought to resemble falling hail; this sense was subsequently widened as other varieties entered the market.
hagelslag m (uncountable)
- hundreds and thousands, sprinkles (elongated and often made of chocolate); jimmies [from early 20th c.]
- hailstorm, particularly a severe one