The etymology of muesli

I often ponder the origin of words. My friends would probably take this opportunity to point out that I also use words like hence when I speak — like that explains my eccentricities. But come on, words are intriguing! I mean let’s take a random word. Paparazzi? Here you go:

1961, from It. Paparazzo (pl. paparazzi) surname of the freelance photographer in Federico Fellini’s 1959 film “La Dolce Vita.” The name itself is of no special significance; it is said to be a common one in Calabria, and Fellini is said to have borrowed it from a travel book, “By the Ionian Sea,” in which occurs the name of hotel owner Coriolano Paparazzo.


Isn’t that fascinating?! Or am I the only one clapping her hands together (in a manner reserved to geeks and dolphins) in unrepressed joy at having learnt this nugget of possibly useless information? It’s incredible how one word has changed drastically in 50 years.

Federico Fellini, photo taken from Wikipedia.

From a character’s last name, paparazzi now describes these people:

I don't know who the random guy is. Photo was taken from a random website:

There are other colloquial definitions found on (the dependable) Urban Dictionary website:

  • The 4th released song by American pop music artist Lady Gaga.
  • Amateur photo-journalists who have found a way to capitalize on the uninteresting stuff famous people do.

See kids? Celebrities eat. Even Taylor Momsen eats!

Now the reason I’m blogging about this (this being word origins, and not the eating habits of celebrities) is because I’m trying to switch to a gluten-free diet and ohwowit’ssohard. I’m only on Day One And A Half and I’m already depressed. My options are limited in Kuwait.

The other day, I went grocery shopping and bought 3 boxes of muesli (organic, gluten-free), dried fruits and… nothing else. I couldn’t find gluten-free noodles or pasta and the gluten-free bread at this grocery store is imported from the UK and can basically be described as meh-looking. Which in adult speak means: not very appetizing. Anyway, there are other stores I want to check out because I know they have a greater variety of products, but I may wait until I’m really diagnosed with gluten intolerance first.

This morning I was talking to my friend (who shall henceforth be known as Chocolate Sprinkles) about my new diet and I said I’ve been wondering about the word muesli. It sounded German to me, but Chocolate Sprinkles thought it’s probably Swiss. So I googled it.

muesli (n.) – a mixture of rolled oats, nuts, fruits, etc, eaten with milk.

[Swiss German, from the German Mus mush, pureé + -li diminutive suffix]

Collins English Dictionary

Exciting, RIGHT?

Photo from a random Yahoo news story.

Now I feel like I should have taken a picture of my morning muesli… hmm maybe tomorrow. Until then, feel free to share gluten-free recipes and your thoughts on quinoa. Please? Thank you. Bye!

4 thoughts on “The etymology of muesli

  1. Ah, that Muesli replaces your breakfast and dinner, and you have only fruit for lunch thing works. For two weeks. Til you get tired of the routine. HAHAHA.

    Oh god, I need a diet too. :|

  2. Hi and thanks for stopping by :)

    I’m loving muesli but I’m discovering that almost everything in the world (that I love) has gluten… sigh

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