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Origin of the Word Picnic

QUESTION: What is the origin on the word picnic?


You may have read the gossip sweeping the Internet on the origin of the word picnic. Some claim that picnic is derived from lynching parties of blacks. This is incorrect.

Instead, the origin on the word picnic is French (piquenique) and was invented long before the atrocities towards blacks took place in America. This French word - piquenique - signifies an outing with food - similar to the word's meaning in English. At these piqueniques, the attendees would all bring food to the occasion, similar to what we call potlucks today. The outdoor concept of a picnic did not originate until the 19th century.

So, how did this word originate? We are unsure what the word pique actually means. There are two options: leisurely eating (picking) or a delicacy of food. Nique was selected since it rhymed with Pique.

Historians have found this French word in references outside of the French language as early as 1748 and into English by around 1800.

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