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レアチーズケーキ is a kind of cheesecake which is not baked.

What is the etymology of the レア part of this word?

Academic references needed, as this is a controversial topic:

レアチーズケーキ

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大辞林 as well as 大辞泉 say

レアチーズケーキ [ rare + cheesecake]

so I'll say presumed "rare" until proven otherwise.

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    This should be the answer in most cases. It is called "rare" because it is not baked. There may be a rare "layered rare cheesecake" somewhere, though. Dunno, rarely.. Point is that this is a Japanese word. Whether or not "rare cheesecake" makes sense or even exists in English is of no relevance -- none. – l'électeur Mar 18 '15 at 11:30
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    @l'électeur: Etymology is about finding out what was going through the head of the first person who coined the word :-) You are right, the English meaning has zero relevance: my question is 100% about etymology of the Japanese language. – Nicolas Raoul Mar 18 '15 at 13:17
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    It's sense 3 of レア 'rare' in 明鏡国語辞典: 生であること。「―チーズケーキ」. Maybe it's an extension of sense 2, which does exist in English: 'rare' as in 'a rare steak' (one that isn't cooked very much). It would make sense to me if the word was extended in Japanese from 'not cooked very much' to 'not cooked at all'. – snailcar Mar 18 '15 at 19:10
  • @snailboat I don't know, but it is conceivable that the definition in 明鏡国語辞典 was added precisely to justify the "rare" in レアチーズケーキ... 大辞林 or 大辞泉 don't have this third definition, only the first two. In other words, レア in レアチーズケーキ may precede the sense 3 in 明鏡国語辞典 in which case 明鏡国語辞典 might not be the place to look for the etymology of レア. – Earthliŋ Mar 18 '15 at 23:13
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    I agree.There's ベイクドチーズケーキ (baked cheesecake) and this レアチーズケーキ is the unbaked version, from all the samples I've ever had. I'm pretty sure if you ask 100 Japanese speakers at least 99, if not all, of them would tell you it's "rare". – Jimmy Mar 18 '15 at 23:55

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