Dear Crabby, What is Lagniappe?

Dear Crabby, What is Lagniappe?

Thanks, Holly Day

Good question Ms. Day,

It means, “where can I take a nap?” At least that’s what I always thought it meant. When Mrs. Crabby would go shopping during the holidays, it would make me sleepy, and I needed a nap. Furniture stores were the best – beds, couches, recliners – to find a place to nap. As long as she came back for me before the store closed, I was good … “just testing the bed,” I would say when the sales person asked if I needed help. I really think they were worried when someone my age falls asleep in their store.

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Dear Crabby Gives Advice

But alas, it means something else. Spanish Americans reworked the name to “la ñapa” from the Quechua people (native American Indians of South America) and their word “Yapa,” meaning something added. French Americans (Louisiana) took “la ñapa” and started saying “lagniappe.” Mark Twain picked up the word in 1883 in New Orleans when shoppers would ask “Give me something for Lagniappe” at the end of a transaction. It could mean anything added to something already paid for, such as a piece of candy from a store or a sample size shampoo from a hotel.

However, in Downtown Rochester it means “a little something extra” and the start to the annual Big, Bright Light Show. Try to find a place to park and check it out on Monday, November 20 to see the word in action, Rochester style-like.

And now you know!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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