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[puh-strah-mee] /pəˈstrɑ mi/
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pastrami
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for pastrami


highly seasoned smoked beef, esp prepared from a shoulder cut
Word Origin
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
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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
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