- chowder (n.)
- 1751, American English, apparently named for the pot it was cooked in: French chaudière "a pot" (12c.), from Late Latin caldaria (see caldron). The word and the practice introduced in Newfoundland by Breton fishermen, and spreading thence to New England.
CHOWDER. A favorite dish in New England, made of fish, pork, onions, and biscuit stewed together. Cider and champagne are sometimes added. Pic-nic parties to the sea-shore generally have a dish of chowder, prepared by themselves in some grove near the beach, from fish caught at the same time. [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1859]
The derogatory chowderhead (1819) is a corruption of cholter-head (16c.), from jolthead, of unknown origin.