1560s, from Middle French fricassée, noun use of fem. past participle of fricasser "mince and cook in sauce" (15c.), which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps a compound from elements related to or altered by Middle French frire "to fry" (see fry (v.)) and casser, quasser "to break, cut up" (see quash (v.)). As a verb, from 1650s.
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