Definition of macaroni
1 : pasta made from semolina and shaped in the form of slender tubes
2 plural macaronis or macaronies [Macaroni Club, a group of such Englishmen] a : a member of a class of traveled young Englishmen of the late 18th and early 19th centuries who affected foreign waysb : an affected young man : fop
3 : macaroni penguin
macaroni was our Word of the Day on 03/01/2015. Hear the podcast!
Examples of macaroni in a sentence
the glitter rock of the 1970s seemed more about mascaraed macaronis than about music
Did You Know?
As you may have suspected, the macaroni in the song "Yankee Doodle" is not the familiar food. The feather in Yankee Doodle's cap apparently makes him a macaroni in the now rare "fop" or "dandy" sense. The sense appears to have originated with a club established in London by a group of young, well-traveled Englishmen in the 1760s. The founders prided themselves on their appearance, sense of style, and manners, and they chose the name Macaroni Club to indicate their worldliness. Because macaroni was, at the time, a new and rather exotic food in England, the name was meant to demonstrate how stylish the club's members were. The members were themselves called macaronis, and eventually macaroni became synonymous with dandy and fop.
Origin and Etymology of macaroni
borrowed from regional Italian, plural of macarone (Tuscan maccherone) “tubular pasta,” earlier also “stuffed pasta of various shapes,” probably borrowed from Middle Greek makarṓneia “funeral hymn,” later with the presumed meaning “food served at a funeral banquet” (whence Modern Greek dialect makarōniá in this sense), of uncertain origin ◆Though the Greek origin of Italian macaroni appears likely, many details are unclear. It has been speculated that the word makarṓneia is a blend of makários “blessed” and aiṓnios “eternal” (words perhaps coupled in funeral orations and memorial services), though this etymology is quite tenuous. The development of the food sense is also difficult to explain—perhaps it has developed through association with Greek makaría “dish of broth and barley groats,” an apparently ancient word of uncertain origin attested only in the work of the Greek lexicographer Hesychios (5th-6th century ad).
First Known Use: 1599
MACARONI Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of macaroni for English Language Learners
: a type of pasta in the shape of small curved tubes
MACARONI Defined for Kids
Definition of macaroni for Students
: pasta in the shape of little curved tubes
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up macaroni? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).