AskDefine | Define macaroni

Dictionary Definition



1 a British dandy in the 18th century who affected Continental mannerisms; "Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni"
2 pasta in the form of slender tubes [also: macaronies (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a RP /mækəˈrəʊni/
  • a US /ˌmækəˈroʊni/
  • Rhymes with: -əʊni

Etymology 1

Corruption of Italian maccheroni, macaroni


  1. A type of pasta in the form of short tubes.
  2. (used by Italian-Americans, especially in Philadelphia and New Jersey) A generic term for pasta.
type of pasta
generic term for pasta See pasta

Etymology 2

Adopted by those who had visited Italy on the Grand Tour to mean anything fashionable


  1. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a man who dressed and often spoke in an ostentatiously affected and effeminate manner.
  2. A sort of droll or fool; a fop; – applied especially to English fops of about 1775.

Extensive Definition

Macaroni is a kind of moderately extended, machine-made dry pasta. Much shorter than spaghetti, and hollow, macaroni does not contain eggs. Though home machines exist that can make macaroni noodles, macaroni is usually commercially made.
Macaroni is a corruption of the Italian word maccherone and its plural maccheroni. Its etymology is debatable. Some scholars consider it related to Greek μακαρία (makaria), a kind of barley broth. Others think it comes from Italian ammaccare, "to bruise or crush" (referring to the crushing of the wheat to make the pasta), which comes, in turn, from Latin macerare.
In English-speaking countries, the name macaroni is customarily given to a specific shape of pasta (i.e. small pasta tubes cut into short pieces). In the United States macaroni is also sometimes labeled as elbow macaroni, or more simply elbows, due to the slight bend in the shape of the pasta noodle. In the U.S. and the United Kingdom, this pasta is often prepared by baking it with a sauce made from cheddar cheese; the resulting dish is called macaroni and cheese (often shortened to macaroni cheese in Britain, and "Mac'n'cheese" in the U.S. In Canada, the dish is known typically by the brand name Kraft Dinner or simply, K-D). In some parts of the U.S., a more narrow type of macaroni is sold as elbow spaghetti.
In Hong Kong, the local Chinese have adopted macaroni as an ingredient in the Hong Kong-style Western cuisine. In the territory's Cha chaan tengs, macaroni is cooked in water and then washed off starch, and served in clear broth with ham or frankfurter sausages, peas, black mushrooms, and optionally eggs reminiscent of noodle soup dishes. This is often a course for breakfast or light lunch fare.

Macaroni machines

Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing the first macaroni machine in the United States, in 1789, when he returned home after serving as ambassador to France. The word macaroni was already familiar in the U.S. at that time, having appeared in the previous decade in the lyrics of the popular song "Yankee Doodle", in which the titular character "stuck a feather in his cap and called it 'macaroni'"; this usage had to do with the maccaronism.

See also


macaroni in Arabic: مكرونة
macaroni in Bulgarian: Макарони
macaroni in Catalan: Macarró
macaroni in Czech: Makaróny
macaroni in Danish: Makaroni
macaroni in German: Makkaroni
macaroni in Spanish: Macarrón
macaroni in Basque: Makarroi
macaroni in Persian: ماکارونی
macaroni in Italian: Maccheroni
macaroni in Hebrew: מקרוני
macaroni in Dutch: Macaroni
macaroni in Japanese: マカロニ
macaroni in Norwegian: Makaroni
macaroni in Russian: Макароны
macaroni in Sicilian: Maccarruna
macaroni in Finnish: Makaroni
macaroni in Swedish: Makaroner
macaroni in Cheyenne: He'kone'éemâsono
macaroni in Ukrainian: Макарони
macaroni in Chinese: 通心粉

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Beau Brummel, Italian paste, beau, blade, blood, boulevardier, buck, clotheshorse, coxcomb, dandy, dude, dumpling, exquisite, fashion plate, fedellini, fettuccine, fine gentleman, fop, fribble, gallant, jack-a-dandy, jackanapes, knaydlach, lady-killer, lasagne, lounge lizard, man-about-town, masher, matzo balls, noodles, pasta, paste, puppy, ravioli, spaetzle, spaghetti, spaghettini, spark, sport, swell, vermicelli, won ton, ziti
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