Hot Dog! Are They Sandwiches, Or Not?

Sandwich. This is a word worth pondering on several levels. First, what’s its origination? Why is a piece of meat between two slices of bread called a sandwich? Second, many of us mispronounce it, referring to a sammich. And we’re saving the biggest controversy for last. Is a hot dog…a sandwich? We feel obligated to get to the heart of this matter. It’s why we’re here.

So Why Is A Sandwich Called A Sandwich?

So it seems that Sandwich is a town in England. There was a fellow named John Montagu, who was the Fourth Earl Of Sandwich (this story dates back to 1770 or so). He’d be at the gambling table for a long time. Rather than take the time to get up for lunch or dinner, he would ask that cold meat between slices of bread be brought to him while he was gambling—and there you have your namesake. Bring on the sandwich! There’s another use for the word, too—it’s used to indicate you’re inserting something tightly between two other things. Example: “He sandwiched his car between two others in the parking lot.”

We’re Gonna Have A Sammich

If you use sammich in a sentence, this is what’s known as a purposeful mispronunciation. Another variant is “samwich.”

And About That Hot Dog Controversy…

As always, we’d like to know what you think (about this controversy that tears at the very fabric of our society). How do you see it? Is a hot dog a sandwich, or not?

There’s been quite a kerfuffle about this on the interwebs for some time now. Know Your Meme says that back in 2011, the food blog Panini Happy published the results of an online poll revealing that 54% of participants thought hot dogs were not sandwiches. (By the way, you can spell it hot dog, hotdog, or hot-dog. They all work.) Twitter has evidence that this goes back to the time of Apollo 13. Even back then, Houston had a problem.

So, should a hot dog be considered a sandwich? We say yes. A hot dog is “a sandwich consisting of a frankfurter in a split roll, usually eaten with mustard, sauerkraut, or relish.” But we’re willing to talk about it.

Oh, the Hot Dog Drama

We have some more multimedia for you, too. WNYC’s The Sporkful podcast host Dan Pashman discussed the hotdog-as-a-sandwich issue at some length:

Georgetown University also weighs in with a nice video.

Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for quizzes, quotes, and word facts in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.