muffins are defined in various ways, depending on period, place, and the people describing them. To further complicate matters, muffin-type foods themselves are known by different names. Eighteenth-century teacakes, colonial American gems, Civil War cornmeal cupcakes, and nineteenth-century corn sticks all fall into the muffin family. Crumpets, scones, biscuits, and buns are close relations.
The English word “muffin” derives from the Low German Muffe (pl. Muffen), meaning “little cake.” Old French moflet or mouflet denotes a kind of soft bread.