Etymology
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flake (v.)
early 15c., flaken, (of snow) "to fall in flakes," from flake (n.). Transitive meaning "break or peel off in flakes" is from 1620s; intransitive sense of "to come off in flakes" is from 1759. . Related: Flaked; flaking.
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flake (n.)

"thin flat piece of snow; a particle," early 14c., also flauke, flagge, which is of uncertain origin, possibly from Old English *flacca "flakes of snow," or from cognate Old Norse flak "flat piece," from Proto-Germanic *flakaz (source also of Middle Dutch vlac, Dutch vlak "flat, level," Middle High German vlach, German Flocke "flake"); from PIE root *plak- (1) "to be flat." From late 14c. as "a speck, a spot."

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corn flakes (n.)

also corn-flakes, cornflakes, type of breakfast cereal, 1902, from corn (n.1) + flake (n.); the process of making them was discovered by American food manufacturer W.K. Kellogg in 1894. Earlier corn flakes was an ingredient in brewing (1890s).

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flaky (adj.)

1570s, "consisting of flakes," from flake + -y (2). Meaning "eccentric, crazy" first recorded 1959, said to be American English baseball slang, but probably from earlier druggie slang flake "cocaine" (1920s). Flake (n.) "eccentric person" is a 1968 back-formation from it. Related: Flakiness.

The term 'flake' needs explanation. It's an insider's word, used throughout baseball, usually as an adjective; someone is considered 'flaky.' It does not mean anything so crude as 'crazy,' but it's well beyond 'screwball' and far off to the side of 'eccentric.' [New York Times, April 26, 1964]
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*plak- (1)

also *plāk-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be flat;" extension of root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread."

It forms all or part of: flag (n.2) "flat stone for paving;" flagstone; flake (n.) "thin flat piece,; flaw; floe; fluke (n.3) "flatfish;" placenta; plagal; plagiarism; plagio-; planchet; plank.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek plakoeis "flat," plax "level surface, anything flat;" Lettish plakt "to become flat;" Old Norse flaga "layer of earth," Norwegian flag "open sea," Old English floh "piece of stone, fragment," Old High German fluoh "cliff."

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flaw (n.)
early 14c., "a flake" (of snow), also in Middle English "a spark of fire; a splinter," from Old Norse flaga "stone slab, layer of stone" (see flag (n.2)), perhaps used here in an extended sense. Old English had floh stanes, but the Middle English form suggests a Scandinavian origin. "The close resemblance in sense between flaw and flake is noteworthy" [OED]. Sense of "defect, fault" first recorded 1580s, first of character, later (c. 1600) of material things; probably via notion of a "fragment" broken off.
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caliche (n.)
sodium nitrate deposits in Chile and Peru, 1858, from South American Spanish, from Spanish caliche "pebble accidentally enclosed in a brick; flake of lime," from Latin calx "limestone, pebble" (see chalk (n.)).
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floe (n.)

1817, first used by Arctic explorers, probably from Norwegian flo "layer, slab," from Old Norse flo, from Proto-Germanic *floho-, from PIE root *plak- (1) "to be flat." Related to first element in flagstone. Earlier explorers used flake. Floe-rat was a seal-hunter's name for the ringed seal (1862).

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Kellogg 
surname, attested from late 13c. (Gilbert Kelehog), literally "kill hog," a name for a butcher (compare kill-buck, a medieval surname, also noted as a term of contempt for a butcher). The U.S. cereal company began in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1906, founded by W.K. Kellogg (1860-1951), business manager of the Battle Creek Sanatorium, as Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company.
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