"kind of batter-cake, baked crisp in irons and served hot," 1744, from Dutch wafel "waffle," from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German wafel, from Proto-Germanic *wabila- "web, honeycomb" (source also of Old High German waba "honeycomb," German Wabe), related to Old High German weban, Old English wefan "to weave" (see weave (v.)). Sense of "honeycomb" is preserved in some combinations referring to a weave of cloth. Waffle iron is from 1794.
1690s, "to yelp, bark," frequentative of provincial waff "to yelp, to bark like a puppy" (1610); possibly of imitative origin. Figurative sense of "talk foolishly" (c. 1700) led to that of "vacillate, equivocate" (1803), originally a Scottish and northern English usage. Late 17c. Scottish also had waff "act of waving," variant of waft, which might have influenced the sense. Related: Waffled; waffler; waffling.
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