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The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
1. A beverage made of milk, flavoring, and ice cream, shaken or whipped until foamy. Also called shake, Regionalfrappe, Regionalvelvet. 2.New England A beverage made of milk and flavored syrup, whipped until foamy. also called regionally Regionalcabinet.
To most Americans, a milk shake, that thick, sweet accompaniment to a hamburger and fries, naturally includes ice cream. But speakers in parts of New England make finer distinctions in their ice cream terminology. To a person living in Rhode Island or the adjoining part of Massachussetts, a milk shake consists of milk shaken up with flavored syrup and nothing more; if ice cream is included, the drink is called a cabinet, possibly, says food writer John F. Mariani in The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, named after the square wooden cabinet in which the mixer was encased. Farther north in New England, the same drink is called a velvet or a frappe (from French frapper, to ice).