AskDefine | Define sandwich

Dictionary Definition

sandwich n : two (or more) slices of bread with a filling between them


1 make into a sandwich
2 insert or squeeze tightly between two people or objects; "She was sandwiched in her airplane seat between two fat men"

User Contributed Dictionary


Proper noun

  1. a town in Kent, south-east England, one of the historic Cinque Ports
  2. an English habitational surname originating from this town
  3. one of several younger towns named after the town in Kent or after a person bearing the surname:

Derived terms



  1. sandwich (snack)

Extensive Definition

A sandwich is a food item made of two or more slices of leavened bread with one or more layers of filling, typically meat or cheese, with the addition of vegetables or salad. The bread can be used as is, or it can be coated with butter, oil, mustard or other condiments to enhance flavor and texture. In North American usage, sandwich may also refer to what is more commonly referred to in the rest of the world as a hamburger.


The first form of sandwich is attributed to the ancient Jewish sage Hillel the Elder, who is said to have put meat from the Paschal lamb and bitter herbs inside matzo (or flat,unleavened bread) during Passover. The filling between the matzos served as a reminder to Israelites of their forced labor constructing Egyptian buildings.
During the Middle Ages, thick slabs of coarse and usually stale bread, called "trenchers", were used as plates. After a meal, the food-soaked trencher was fed to a dog, less fortunate beggars, or eaten by the diner. Trenchers were as much the harbingers of open-face sandwiches as they were of disposable dishware. The immediate cultural precursor with a direct connection to the English sandwich was to be found in seventeenth-century Holland, where the naturalist John Ray observed that in the taverns beef hung from the rafters "which they cut into thin slices and eat with bread and butter laying the slices upon the butter"— explanatory specifications that reveal the Dutch belegde broodje was as yet unfamiliar in England. The first written usage of the English word appeared in Edward Gibbon's journal, in longhand, referring to "bits of cold meat" as a 'Sandwich'. It was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century English aristocrat, although he was neither the inventor nor sustainer of the food. It is said that Lord Sandwich was fond of this form of food because it allowed him to continue playing cards, particularly cribbage, while eating without getting his cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands.
The rumour in its familiar form appeared in Pierre Jean Grosley's Londres (Neichatel, 1770), translated as A Tour to London 1772; Grosley's impressions had been formed during a year in London, 1765. The sober alternative is provided by Sandwich's biographer, N.A.M. Rodger, who suggests Sandwich's commitments to the navy, to politics and the arts mean the first sandwich was more likely to have been consumed at his desk.
It is also possible that Sandwich's wife's sister's husband, Jerome de Salis, who was born in the Grisons Republic of Switzerland, taught him about sandwiches.
If it was initially perceived as food men shared while gaming and drinking at night, the sandwich slowly began appearing in polite society as a late-night meal among the aristocracy. The sandwich's popularity in Spain and England increased dramatically during the 19th century, when the rise of an industrial society and the working classes made fast, portable, and inexpensive meals essential.
It was at the same time that the sandwich finally began to appear outside of Europe. In the United States, the sandwich was first promoted as an elaborate supper meal. By the early 20th century, as bread became a staple of the American diet, the sandwich became the same kind of popular, quick meal as was widespread in the Mediterranean.


Sandwiches are commonly carried to work or school to be eaten as the midday meal as part of a packed lunch or lunchbox, and carried on trips, picnics etc. They are generally made by a combination of veggtabling and applying meat, and/or a variety of sauces. They are widely sold in sandwich shops and in cafes. They are popular all over the globe.

List of regional sandwich styles

Some of these are distinguished primarily by the bread or method of preparation, rather than the filling. The list does not include single-ingredient sandwiches although there are references to many on Wikipedia.
sandwich in Old English (ca. 450-1100): Sandwīc (ǣt)
sandwich in Arabic: شطيرة
sandwich in Breton: Sandwich
sandwich in Danish: Sandwich
sandwich in German: Sandwich (Lebensmittel)
sandwich in Spanish: Sándwich
sandwich in Esperanto: Sandviĉo
sandwich in Basque: Ogitarteko
sandwich in French: Sandwich
sandwich in Korean: 샌드위치
sandwich in Indonesian: Roti lapis
sandwich in Icelandic: Samloka
sandwich in Italian: Sandwich (cucina)
sandwich in Hebrew: כריך
sandwich in Georgian: სენდვიჩი
sandwich in Lithuanian: Sumuštinis
sandwich in Hungarian: Szendvics
sandwich in Malay (macrolanguage): Sandwic
sandwich in Dutch: Sandwich (gerecht)
sandwich in Japanese: サンドイッチ
sandwich in Norwegian: Sandwich
sandwich in Narom: Sannouiche
sandwich in Polish: Kanapka
sandwich in Portuguese: Sanduíche
sandwich in Romanian: Sandviş
sandwich in Russian: Сандвич
sandwich in Northern Sami: Vuodjaláibi
sandwich in Simple English: Sandwich
sandwich in Slovenian: Sendvič
sandwich in Finnish: Voileipä
sandwich in Swedish: Sandwich
sandwich in Vietnamese: Bánh mì kẹp
sandwich in Turkish: Sandviç
sandwich in Contenese: 三文治
sandwich in Chinese: 三明治

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

BLT, Dagwood sandwich, Sloppy Joe, Swiss cheese sandwich, bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich, canape, cheeseburger, corned beef sandwich, double-decker sandwich, drag in, edge in, egg salad sandwich, foist in, fudge in, grilled cheese sandwich, grinder, ham sandwich, hamburger, hoagy, hot dog, implant in, inject in, insert in, insinuate in, intercalate, interjaculate, interject, interpolate, interpose, intervene, introduce in, intrude, lug in, pastrami sandwich, poor boy, put between, run in, smuggle in, squeeze in, submarine sandwich, throw in, thrust in, tuna salad sandwich, tunaburger, wedge in, work in, worm in
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