Image Source: The Drum

Oreo, maybe, is the most well-known cookie in the world. According to Statista, they more than quadrupled the sales of the next best-selling cookie in the world in 2014, totaling $3.28 billion. They are the only cookies to have their own national holiday, which the United States celebrates on March 6 – The anniversary of the cookie’s inception (per YouTube and National Days Today). Despite its seeming iniquitousness, the Oreo remains shrouded in mystery: What is the origin of the name?

Oreos were not the first chocolate sandwich cookies on the market, despite their rapid popularity across the country. The Sunshine Biscuits had released the first similar cookie four years earlier under the name “Hydroxes,” but Oreos swiftly beat them in popularity. While the packaging has been updated several times since 1912, little about the sandwich cookies has changed; including the core appearance and name. Officially called a “biscuit,” “sandwich,” and “chocolate sandwich cookie,” it has always been known simply as “an Oreo”.

Image Source: The AdGully

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What does Oreo actually mean?

But what exactly does “Oreo” mean? The weird thing is that no one truly knows. According to ThoughtCo., there are several ideas concerning the origin of the catchy appellation, but its veracity remains unknown. According to one explanation, the name derives from the French word for gold, “or,” in allusion to the cookies’ original gold-colored packaging. Others say, it derives from a Greek root, maybe the Greek word for mountain, because the original cookie design was dome-shaped, as Rewind and Capture asserts.

It might possibly be related to the flower on the Hydrox biscuit, an Oreodaphne. According to the ultimate explanation, it is a visual depiction of the cookie, with “re” being two of the centre letters of “cream” sandwiched between the two circular, cookie-shaped O’s in “chocolate.” Nabisco has never verified or rejected any of these hypotheses. So, it is just as probable that the name was picked at random because it is easy to say and remember.

Image Source: Baking Business

What do consumers say?

However, on the other side, many consumers believe there is a dark ancient history attached to the brand and the design printed on it. Some believe that the geometric design of a dot with four triangles extending outward is a symbol that ties Oreos to the history of the First Crusade once more. It is similar to a Cross Pattee, a mark developed by the Knights Temples to identify themselves from troops of other religions by stitching red or black crosses on their white robes and other articles of apparel.

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While many of us haven’t even noticed it since we go straight for a munch, some users have spotted a cross on top of the oval print on the biscuit. They believe that it represents the knights, along with many other Christian travellers, who travelled to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, to retake it from the peacefully living Turks, whom the Knights cruelly massacred upon their arrival.

History is a dark, dark place, much like Oreo.

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