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[pes-toh] /ˈpɛs toʊ/
noun, Italian Cookery.
a sauce typically made with basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and grated Parmesan blended together and served hot or cold over pasta, fish, or meat.
Origin of pesto
Genoese dialect
1935-40; < Upper Italian (compare Genoese dialect pésto pesto), Italian: noun derivative of pestare to pound, crush; see piste, pestle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for pesto


a sauce for pasta, consisting of basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, oil, and Parmesan cheese, all crushed together
Word Origin
Italian, shortened form of pestato, past participle of pestare to pound, crush
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
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Word Origin and History for pesto

olive oil-based pasta sauce, 1937, from Italian pesto, contracted form of pestato, past participle of pestare "to pound, to crush," in reference to the crushed herbs and garlic in it, from Latin root of pestle.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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