A crumpet is a small griddle cake made from an unsweetened batter of water or milk, flour and yeast, eaten in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and some areas of the Commonwealth.
Crumpets are regionally known as pikelets, a name also applied to a thinner, more pancake-like griddle cake: a type of the latter is referred to as a crumpet in Scotland.
Crumpets have been variously described as originating in Wales or as part of the Anglo-Saxon diet, based on proposed etymologies of the word. In either case breads were, historically, commonly cooked on a griddle whererever bread ovens were not available. The bara-planc, or griddle bread, baked on an iron plate over a fire, was part of the everyday diet in Wales until the 19th century.
Small, oval cakes baked in this manner were called picklets, a name used for the first recognisable crumpet-type recipe, published in 1769 by Elizabeth Raffald in The Experienced English Housekeeper. This name was derived from the Welsh bara pyglyd or "pitchy [i.e. dark or sticky] bread", later shortened simply to pyglyd. The early 17th century lexicographer Randle Cotgrave referred to "popelins, soft cakes of fine flour, &c., fashioned like our Welsh barrapycleds".
The word spread initially to the West Midlands of England, where it became anglicised as pikelet, and subsequently to Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and other areas of the north; crumpets are still referred to as pikelets in some areas. The word crumpet itself, of unclear origin, first appears in relatively modern times; it has been suggested as referring to a crumpled or curled-up cake, based on an isolated 14th century reference to a "crompid cake", and the Old English word crompeht ("crumpled") being used to gloss Latin folialis, possibly a type of thin bread