plural noun

del·​i·​ca·​tes·​sen ˌde-li-kə-ˈte-sᵊn How to pronounce delicatessen (audio)
: ready-to-eat food products (such as cooked meats and prepared salads)
singular, plural delicatessens [delicatessen (store)] : a store where delicatessen are sold

Examples of delicatessen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The menu pays homage to a typical delicatessen with sandwiches loaded with chicken schnitzel, smoked turkey, brisket, and more. Alex Darus, cleveland, 14 Aug. 2023 On the wholesale side, a large part of the business at Star Bakery, Buckfire said, was their bread was sold to many metro Detroit restaurants and delicatessens. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 20 June 2023 Before the pandemic, Hasid was planning to open a delicatessen that would be located in an adjacent storefront. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, 1 July 2020 As part of the format, three South Floridians visit restaurants, gastropubs or delicatessens and dine separately and anonymously as amateur food critics. Rod Stafford Hagwood, Sun Sentinel, 13 Apr. 2023 Garner recounts this while sitting in Sadelle’s, the Disneyfied delicatessen on West Broadway where Delvey once hosted a birthday party and skipped out on the bill. Chloe Malle, Town & Country, 19 Jan. 2022 April There is something to be said for a great delicatessen. cleveland, 31 Dec. 2022 Ronald Joel Glasser was born on May 31, 1939, in Chicago to Sidney and Ann (Teeman) Glasser, owners of a delicatessen. Sam Roberts, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2022 The word ‘delicatessen’ is so New York, and so evocative of cinema and a time period. Kristen Bateman, ELLE, 17 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'delicatessen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


obsolete German (now Delikatessen), plural of Delicatesse delicacy, from French délicatesse, probably from Old Italian delicatezza, from delicato delicate, from Latin delicatus

First Known Use

1885, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of delicatessen was in 1885

Dictionary Entries Near delicatessen

Cite this Entry

“Delicatessen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


noun plural
del·​i·​ca·​tes·​sen ˌdel-i-kə-ˈtes-ᵊn How to pronounce delicatessen (audio)
: ready-to-eat food products (as cooked meats and prepared salads)
singular, plural delicatessens : a store where delicatessen are sold

from obsolete German Delicatessen (now spelled Delikatessen) "specially prepared ready-to-eat foods," plural of Delicatesse "delicacy," from French délicatesse (same meaning), derived from Latin delicatus "delicate"

Word Origin
We owe both the word delicatessen and the special food it represents to the German immigrants who came to this country toward the end of the 19th century. But although the food was originally German, the word was not. The Germans borrowed the word from the French. The obsolete German word delicatessen is a plural form of delicatesse and means "delicacies, ready-to-eat foods." This word was borrowed from the French word délicatesse, meaning "delicacy." In English, delicatessen originally meant only the specially-prepared food. In time, the delicatessen store where this food was sold came to be called a delicatessen, and a new meaning for the word was born. Now the word is often shortened to deli.

More from Merriam-Webster on delicatessen

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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