hundreds and thousands are tiny dragées, made by coating individual sugar crystals with sugar syrup. (If the coating process is carried on to build up large sweets, the result is a gobstopper.) A characteristic of hundreds and thousands is the bright mixture of colours—red, orange, pink, yellow—in which they are produced. These little sweets are scattered over icing to decorate cakes, or sprinkled over ice creams.
The corresponding French term, nonpareille, sometimes occurs in the Anglicized and archaic form ‘non pareil’.