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I'm writing a text where the object of the text is the sprinkle on top of the cupcake, "cupcake sprinkle". But I've searched it and it all turns up "sprinkle cupcakes".

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You have to use quotes if you want to impose a specific order on a Google search.

"Cupcake sprinkle" returns more than 20000 results.

Sprinkle can be used both as a noun (to designate the candies you put on top of cakes) and as a verb (to designate the act of sprinkling the candies).

EDIT: as psmears points out the plural form sprinkles is more commonly used.

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I believe "sprinkles" is more common: note that nearly all the results on that Google search are for "cupcake sprinkle + <noun>" - "cupcake sprinkle party", "... candies", "... ring", "... club", "... shirt", "... bottle cap", whereas if you search for cupcake sprinkles the results are referring to the stuff itself :) – psmears Apr 26 '11 at 8:53
@psmears: good point, I added it to the answer. – nico Apr 26 '11 at 8:59

If you're talking about the little sugary tidbits that are commonly sprinkled over cakes, ice cream and so on, then that's usually called sprinkles (or hundreds and thousands or a few other names).

If you want to refer to this sort of confectionery, specifically intended for cupcakes, then you can say cupcake sprinkles. But you might not need to, because the word sprinkles already has that connotation.

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Regional note: People in New England call them "jimmies"; I could never get used to that. – Robusto Apr 26 '11 at 10:01
@Robusto: My sister confused the staff in an ice cream parlor in Canada when she asked for her ice cream to be topped with hundreds and thousands: "Hundreds and thousands of what?! Oh, you mean sprinkles!" – psmears Apr 26 '11 at 10:38

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