a brisket of beef that has been cured in a mixture of garlic, peppercorns, sugar, coriander seeds, etc., then smoked before cooking.

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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pastrami (pəˈstrɑːmɪ)
highly seasoned smoked beef, esp prepared from a shoulder cut
[from Yiddish, from Romanian pastramǎ, from pǎstra to preserve]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1940, from Yiddish pastrame, from Rumanian pastrama, probably from Turk. pastrima, variant of basdirma "dried meat," from root *bas- "to press." The other possible origin of the Rumanian word is Mod.Gk. pastono "I salt," from classical Gk. pastos "sprinkled with salt, salted." Spelling in Eng. with -mi
probably from influence of salami.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The pastrami burger is also a nod in this direction.
The towering hot pastrami and corned beef sandwiches offer enough meat for two sandwiches.
Specialties include traditional kosher favorites such as hot pastrami sandwiches, chicken in the pot and beef brisket.
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