[ kohl-slaw ]
/ ˈkoʊlˌslɔ /
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a salad of finely sliced or chopped raw cabbage, usually moistened with a mayonnaise dressing.


Hot dogs, Coleslaw, And Other Debates About Food

We all love food, but that doesn't mean we all agree on what certain foods should be called. There are some serious food debates that spark intense reactions. Watch to see if you agree or disagree with these food classifications.

Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of coleslaw

1785–95; <Dutch koolsla, equivalent to kool cabbage, cole + sla, contraction of saladesalad
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is coleslaw?

Coleslaw is a cold salad traditionally made from sliced or chopped raw cabbage mixed with a dressing made with mayonnaise or vinegar. It often includes other seasonings and ingredients, such as onions, carrots, or apples. 

The word slaw can be used to mean the same thing. Sometimes, slaw is used to refer to a similar cold salad that does not include cabbage, such as carrot slaw.  

Coleslaw is most commonly served as a side dish, such as for barbecue, or a topping, such as for sandwiches. In the U.S., it’s associated with cookouts and picnics and known as a common side dish at some restaurants. 

Example: My mom makes a tasty coleslaw that includes carrots and onions.

Where does coleslaw come from?

The first records of the word coleslaw come from the late 1700s. It comes from the Dutch koolsla, a word that combines kool, meaning “cabbage,” and sla, a contraction of salade, meaning “salad.” Coleslaw is, simply enough, a salad made with cabbage. 

The word cole ultimately comes from the Latin caulis, meaning “plant stalk” or “cabbage.” It can be used to refer to a number of plants in the genus that includes cabbage, kale, and other related vegetables. Related words include kohlrabi, a type of cabbage, and cauliflower.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for coleslaw?

What are some words that share a root or word element with coleslaw

What are some words that often get used in discussing coleslaw?

How is coleslaw used in real life?

Coleslaw is a common side dish at cookouts and some restaurants. It comes in many variations, including those made with mayonnaise- and vinegar-based dressings. Some people love it and some people think it’s gross.

Try using coleslaw!

True or False?

Coleslaw always includes carrots.

How to use coleslaw in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for coleslaw

/ (ˈkəʊlˌslɔː) /

a salad of shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, carrots, onions, etc

Word Origin for coleslaw

C19: from Dutch koolsla, from koolsalade, literally: cabbage salad
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012