Croissant Means Crescent

Okay, this doesn’t have anything to do with careers, being a speaker or being a coach. This is all about one of my pet peeves. This one is about how we are losing our command of the English language. And it really is about the sloppy use of the word “croissant.”

I know this does not seem like an earth shattering topic. And it isn’t. I doubt I will get engaged as a speaker to give a presentation about this. But I have to vent somewhere and this seems like the best place.

We all recognize that buttery crescent shaped pasty that carries the name croissant. Most people think it originated in France. Actually it is more likely that it came from Austria. That surprises a lot of people. But the Viennese pastry industry has a long and proud history. And it doesn’t matter to me where it got started, I like them.

What has mean peeving is the misuse of the term “croissant.” You see a croissant mean a “crescent” shaped pastry.

So today I was in Starbucks. I saw what I recognized as a chocolate pastry. It is square. It is made of a flaky dough. It has chocolate in it. What does Starbucks call it? A chocolate croissant. They even carry it on their web site as a chocolate croissant.

When I mentioned to the barista that this was not, by definition a croissant his response was that it had a croissant wrapper. WHAT?

Now I recognize that this is trivial. It is small in the grand scheme of things. But it is also demonstrative of how lazy we have become with the English language.

A day hardly seems to pass that I don’t hear or read somebody saying. “If you want to live in this country you ought to learn English.” Well, I guess that would be good advice if all of us paid attention to that. But how can we expect immigrants to learn how to speak English when we don’t know it ourselves?