a brisket of beef that has been cured in a mixture of garlic, peppercorns, sugar, coriander seeds, etc., then smoked before cooking.
Origin of pastrami
1935–40; < Yiddishpastrame < Romanianpastramă pressed, cured meat; a Balkanism of uncertain origin (compare Modern Greekpastramâs,Serbo-Croatianpȁstrma), perhaps ultimately < Turkishpastιrma, taken as variant of bastιrma, equivalent to bastιr-, causative stem of bas- press, squeeze + -ma verbal noun suffix
1940, from Yiddish pastrame, from Rumanian pastrama, probably from Turkish pastrima, variant of basdirma "dried meat," from root *bas- "to press." Another possible origin of the Rumanian word [Barnhart] is Modern Greek pastono "I salt," from classical Greek pastos "sprinkled with salt, salted." Spelling in English with -mi probably from influence of salami.