ReVo and the lexicon at lernu.net both say biskvito, kekso. Biskvito is the one I've heard before. After searching through vortaro.net I'm thinking that keksoj are the salty, dry kind, while biskvitoj have more sugar. Am I on the right track?

Now, what really got me confused is that the course La Teorio Nakamura at Lernu, calls the cookies in the picture below kuketoj.

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I thought that was a small cake. Is it used for cookies too?

  • 1
    Lernu.net actually gives me "cupcake" when I type "kuketo" into the lexicon. Dec 1, 2016 at 21:00
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    Note that, in general, X-eto does not exactly mean small X, but often something similar but smaller or lesser in degree than an X, e.g. rideto (a smile) is not the same as malgranda rido (a small laugh). Likewise, kuketo would be a cookie or a cupcake (I'm not sure which) but not the same as malgranda kuko.
    – Max
    Dec 4, 2016 at 10:07
  • @Max I know of that difference. Sometimes there is a word in English also for the -eto words (rideto, dometo etc) but in this case I couldn't come up with one. Thanks for mentioning it anyways! I wanted to bring attention to the cake-part. To me, cakes and cookies are different, since cakes are soft while cookies are crunchy or crispy. Dec 4, 2016 at 16:15

4 Answers 4


In my home (I speak Esperanto to my children and am a member of the Akademio de Esperanto), we use biskvito for both "cookie" (or "biscuit" in British English) and "cracker", and kuketo for "muffin", "cupcake" and similar things. The word kekso is a synonym for biskvito.

The word biskvito comes from the *Fundamento de Esperanto", but there its meaning is not very clear, as it is translated into five different languages with words that (at least in modern usage) are not synonyms. For example, the English translation is "biscuit" (which has a different meaning in Britain and the U.S.), while in German it is translated with "Zwieback", a hard twice-baked break (nowadays called biskoto en Esperanto). This probably made some German Esperantists introduce kekso (from the German "Keks") to distinguish cookies from twice-baked bread. The word caught on partially, but biskvito seems to be more common in the meaning of "cookie".

  • The translations of biskvito in Fundamento are confusing indeed. The Polish translation is "sucharek", which is the same as "Zwieback", but for some reason, the Russian translation doesn't use the word "сухарь" (sukhar'), which has the same meaning and a similar form, but "бисквитъ" (biskvit'). So the words don't match even in the languages that Zamenhof knew best.
    – miĥaŭ
    Dec 2, 2016 at 14:26
  • So there you have it folks, if you're visiting people who speak Esperanto with their children (see also my answer) you need to know both biskvito and kekso and consider them synonyms. While I agree with Marcos here (indeed, he's saying essentially the same thing I did) people should be cautioned that speaking Esperanto with your children doesn't automatically make you an expert. It does, however, make coming to a decision about what word to use that much more important. Dec 3, 2016 at 9:07

Kekso and biskvito should be considered synonyms. In my house, you're more likely to get what you want if you say kekso - but biskvito is common as well - arguably more common in some parts of the world.

I made a conscious decision years ago to prefer the word "kekso" because it works better in compound.

Kuketo should be avoided in this sense.

  • Agreed about the meaning. I have the impression, that "kekso" is more usual among younger speakers, and that i heard biskvito only from older speakers (>60). But that might be a fluctuation based on my limited sample. Dec 1, 2016 at 21:57
  • I can't confirm your impression. My own impression is different. The main thing, though, is to know they mean the same thing. Dec 2, 2016 at 0:14
  • According to ReVo, biskvito can mean cracker or cookie - reta-vortaro.de/revo/art/biskvi.html#biskvi.0o.dubakita
    – Lumo5
    Dec 4, 2016 at 9:34
  • ReVo is based on PV - and this is just another example of what Marcos said in his very good answer to this question. The definition of "biskvito" has never been clear going back to the Fundamento, and has flip-flopped when different dictionaries have been published. Although I am in favor of kekso - I say with some confidence that no fluent speaker of Esperanto should understand that biskvito means anything other than "cookie" unless specified by strong contextual clues such as "sala biskvito kun fromagxo." Dec 4, 2016 at 11:05

Kuketo = Small cake, such as a cupcake.

Biskvito = Cracker or a cookie - http://www.reta-vortaro.de/revo/art/biskvi.html#biskvi.0o.dubakita

Kekso = Cookie - http://www.reta-vortaro.de/revo/art/keks.html#keks.0o


In my American experience, "cookie" -> "kuketo."

The suffixes give you a pretty generic word; cookies are more or less some kind of small cake. If you need to be specific, another word (or a phrase) might be better.

  • Cookies are definitely not small cakes; see this part of QI ;): youtube.com/watch?v=BPyJPuY5xYA Dec 1, 2016 at 22:30
  • I'm not sure if the QI reference was meant to be serious, but there is a serious point here. I would file this under false friend. Dec 2, 2016 at 0:17
  • Yeah, it was serious reference; but I didn't look elsewhere for proper definitions of cookie and cake in the sense that QI described them. Dec 2, 2016 at 12:34
  • @Joffysloffy I just watched the clip, and I noticed they separate cakes and biscuits the same way I separate cakes and cookies. Dec 4, 2016 at 16:24
  • @AntoniaMontaro That makes sense, since British biscuits = cookies ;). Dec 5, 2016 at 8:58

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