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n. Southern Louisiana
1. A square doughnut with no hole: "a New Orleans coffeehouse selling beignets, an insidious Louisianian cousin of the doughnut that exists to get powdered sugar on your face" (Los Angeles Times).
2. A fritter.
[French, fritter, from Old French, from diminutive of beigne, bump, lump, of Celtic origin; akin to Welsh bôn, stump, base.]
Our Living Language New Orleans, Louisiana, has been a rich contributor of French loan words and local expressions to American English. Many New Orleans words, such as beignet, café au lait, faubourg, lagniappe, and krewe, reflect the New World French cuisine and culture characterizing this region. Other words reflect distinctive physical characteristics of the city: banquette, a raised sidewalk, and camelback and shotgun, distinctive architectural styles found among New Orleans houses.
(Cookery) chiefly US and Canadian a square deep-fried pastry served hot and sprinkled with icing sugar
[C19: French bignet filled pastry, from buyne, literally: bump or lump]
a square doughnut or fritter dusted with powdered sugar.
[1830–35, Amer.; < Louisiana French; Middle French bignet filled pastry]