August 07, 2011
- delicatessen (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : ready-to-eat food products (as cooked meats and prepared salads)2 : a store where ready-to-eat foods are sold
- How do you use it?
- We stopped at the delicatessen on the way to the game and picked up sandwiches, potato salad, and coleslaw for the tailgate party.
- Are you a word wiz?
Several languages teamed up to prepare "delicatessen" for its English debut. Which of these languages do you think played the greatest role in the development of "delicatessen"?If you love to eat at delicatessens, thank the Germans. It was German immigrants who introduced Americans to the foods now so widely enjoyed in delicatessens here. But German speakers didn't coin that name for cold-cut sandwiches and other portable fare. Instead, they adopted a form of the French word "delicatesse" (meaning "delicacy") to name those ready-to-eat treats. The French "delicatesse" probably comes from Old Italian "delicatezza" and "delicato," which in turn trace back to the Latin "delicatus," meaning "delicate." Modern English speakers have found "delicatessen" a bit too long for their taste, and often shorten the word to just "deli."