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; < Yiddish pastrame < Romanian pastramă pressed, cured meat; a Balkanism of uncertain origin (compare Modern Greek pastramâs, Serbo-Croatian pȁstrma), perhaps ultimately < Turkish pastιrma, taken as variant of bastιrma, equivalent to bastιr-, causative stem of bas- press, squeeze + -ma verbal noun suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pastrami

Contemporary Examples of pastrami

  • It was conducted around a platter of pastrami sandwiches cut into quarters.

    The Daily Beast logo
    My Moments With Ariel Sharon

    Seth Lipsky

    January 11, 2014

  • But if you like pastrami—or, in my case, turkey pastrami—this is your spot.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Gal With a Suitcase

    Jolie Hunt

    January 1, 2010

British Dictionary definitions for pastrami



highly seasoned smoked beef, esp prepared from a shoulder cut

Word Origin for pastrami

from Yiddish, from Romanian pastramǎ, from pǎstra to preserve
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

Word Origin and History for pastrami

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper