mac·​a·​ro·​ni ˌma-kə-ˈrō-nē How to pronounce macaroni (audio)
: pasta made from semolina and shaped in the form of slender tubes
plural macaronis or macaronies [Macaroni Club, a group of such Englishmen]
: a member of a class of traveled young Englishmen of the late 18th and early 19th centuries who affected foreign ways
: an affected young man : fop

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.

Examples of macaroni in a Sentence

the glitter rock of the 1970s seemed more about mascaraed macaronis than about music
Recent Examples on the Web Pour the cooked macaroni into the prepared baking dish. Melissa Oyler, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 It was made using actual powdered cheese from their macaroni boxes. Antonia Debianchi, Peoplemag, 12 Dec. 2023 Once a day, migrants were fed a tiny amount of plain macaroni. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 Season the sauce to taste with salt and black pepper, then stir in the reserved macaroni. Saveur Editors, Saveur, 10 Aug. 2023 Curiously, Loi believes its macaroni is destined for more than just dinner. Kendra Vaculin, Bon Appétit, 25 Sep. 2023 Similarly, the four cheese macaroni bake combines mozzarella, fontina, Parmesan and provolone, and macaroni noodles with cornbread crumbs on top. Sabrina Weiss, Peoplemag, 25 Aug. 2023 Just make sure your add-ins are about the size of your macaroni. Robin Miller, The Arizona Republic, 20 July 2023 Sauté the filling, add the macaroni, and use the PRESSURE COOK setting on your Instant Pot to cook the ingredients. Patricia Shannon, Southern Living, 4 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

Note: 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 Hesychius (5th-6th century a.d.).

First Known Use

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of macaroni was in 1673


Dictionary Entries Near macaroni

Cite this Entry

“Macaroni.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


mac·​a·​ro·​ni ˌmak-ə-ˈrō-nē How to pronounce macaroni (audio)
: a food made chiefly of wheat flour paste dried in the form of slender tubes

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