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Wiktionary's entry for cookie says a "cookie" is

(England and Wales) A specifically American-style biscuit.

and Wikipedia's entry for biscuit says

Although in Commonwealth Nations, the term "cookie" may be synonymous with "biscuit", a cookie is generally a softer baked product.

I don't really recall "cookie" being used this way 10 or 20 years ago in Australia. Am I imagining it, or has usage of the word increased over time?

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What did you call fortune cookies? – Jon Hanna Feb 2 '13 at 20:39
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would tend to agree that 'cookie' is a recent addition to Australian English as it is to Indian English. The younger generation is more inclined to use American terms these days even in countries like Australia and India where British English has been closely followed, at least in terms of vocabulary.

Where foodstuffs are concerned, Australian English tends to be more closely related to the British vocabulary. For example, the term biscuit is the traditional and common term rather than the American term cookie. As had been the case with many terms, cookie is recognised and understood by Australians, and occasionally used, especially among younger generations. [Source]

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I'd say it's increased over time and is now interchangeable, with US tv shows/movies and chains of cookie-type shops.

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This has been an insidious development that has been going on for more than 20 years. I believe that the beach head was when one type of chocolate chip biscuits in Australia was rebranded as cookies (no doubt in response to the regular mention of "milk and cookies" on US-sourced television).

Notice how the comments on this recipe site (for "cookies") are split with several still referring to the "biscuits".

We will know that the take-over is complete when someone advertises Anzac Cookies!

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It's actually illegal to refer to them as "Anzac cookies"! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_biscuit#Legal_issues – Andrew Grimm Feb 2 '13 at 12:34

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