Posts Tagged ‘French’

¿Que What?

Friday, March 14th, 2008

The wife is planning to make quesadillas one of these days, and it inspired me to write up a quick etymology of this fascinating word.

Quesadilla (pron. kay-suh-dee-uh) of course comes from the Spanish language. As we all know, “Que” is the Spanish word for “What” when posing a question. “Sadilla”, in turn, is a spelling corruption of the French “cedilla“, which is pronounced the same way. A cedilla is a French bit of punctuation — that little squiggle you sometimes see under the letter “ç”. (Ooooh, alliteration!)

So “Que Sadilla” literally translates as “What French?”, or more meaningfully, “I don’t speak French” — which makes sense, as the speaker clearly speaks Spanish. As for how this strange term came to represent a delicious cheese-stuffed food, well, everyone knows that the French are notorious cheese-eaters, so there you go.

Here endeth the lesson.