plural noun

car·​ni·​tas kär-ˈnē-təz How to pronounce carnitas (audio)
: small chunks or strips of meat and especially pork that are fried or roasted until crisp and are sometimes served in a burrito or taco
John picked up two six-packs of Michelob and cooked carnitas on his back porch.Dagoberto Gilb
… I had made carnitas—that irresistible Mexican pork shoulder braised for hours with spices, then fried in its own fat until crisp …Mark Bittman

Word History


borrowed from Mexican Spanish, plural of carnita, diminutive of Spanish carne "meat," going back to Latin carn, carō "flesh, meat" — more at carnal

First Known Use

1949, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of carnitas was in 1949

Dictionary Entries Near carnitas

Cite this Entry

“Carnitas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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