cal·​a·​mari | \ ˌkä-lə-ˈmär-ē How to pronounce calamari (audio) , ˈka-lə-ˌmer-ē\

Definition of calamari

: squid used as food

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The word calamari was borrowed into English from 17th-century Italian, where it functioned as the plural of "calamaro" or "calamaio." The Italian word, in turn, comes from the Medieval Latin noun calamarium, meaning "ink pot or "pen case," and can be ultimately traced back to Latin calamus, meaning "reed pen." The transition from pens and ink to squid is not surprising, given the inky substance that a squid ejects and the long tapered shape of the squid's body. English speakers have also adopted "calamus" itself as a word referring to both a reed pen and to a number of plants.

Examples of calamari in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Fry the calamari and herbs for three to five minutes, or until lightly golden. Tyler Florence, House Beautiful, "Tyler Florence's Summer Calamari Salad Recipe," 6 May 2011 Dredge the calamari and herbs in the cornmeal mixture until evenly coated. Tyler Florence, House Beautiful, "Tyler Florence's Summer Calamari Salad Recipe," 6 May 2011 The calamari is great fried; branzino, snapper, and scallops are best grilled; and the clams should always be baked. Ali Francis, Vogue, "7 Long Island City Restaurants You Should Try Before, Well, Amazon," 20 Nov. 2018 Pub food from the United Kingdom is the theme in the tavern; think, fish-n-chips, fried calamari, burgers, and a cod sandwich. Kristin Luna, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips from Nashville," 4 Mar. 2018 Meanwhile ribs, smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and steak sandwiches will be sold out of Virginia Street booths, along with a few unexpected items like fried calamari and tacos. Mel Shields, sacbee, "Spin Doctors and Vanilla Ice headline Reno's annual brews and blues festival," 14 June 2018 This dish really shines when the calamari goes on the salad right at the last second. Tyler Florence, House Beautiful, "Tyler Florence's Summer Calamari Salad Recipe," 6 May 2011 Everything from Roman antipasti and fried calamari to gelato and pizzelle can be sampled at A Taste of Italy, which returns to the Italian Community Center in the Third Ward on April 22. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Italian Community Center offers A Taste of Italy on April 22," 9 Apr. 2018 Raw calamari and pork stored above lettuce and salsas. Robert Gundran, azcentral, "Restaurant with no sneeze guard on salsa bar among this week's violations," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calamari.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of calamari

1826, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for calamari

Italian, plural of calamaro, calamaio, from Medieval Latin calamarium ink pot, from Latin calamus; from the inky substance the squid secretes

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about calamari

Listen to Our Podcast about calamari

Statistics for calamari

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for calamari

The first known use of calamari was in 1826

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on calamari

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with calamari

Spanish Central: Translation of calamari

Nglish: Translation of calamari for Spanish Speakers

Comments on calamari

What made you want to look up calamari? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a secret plot to overthrow a government

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

April 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a bird amidst buds
  • Which is a synonym of propitious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!