mac·​a·​ro·​ni | \ ˌma-kə-ˈrō-nē How to pronounce macaroni (audio) \

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 ways
b : an affected young man : fop

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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 Carefully, stir in the cooked macaroni, breaking up any large pieces that may have stuck together, until just combined. Washington Post, "Patti LaBelle’s macaroni and cheese recipe will take you over the rainbow," 13 Nov. 2020 Make an extra side (or three) of cornbread pudding, roasted butternut squash or over-the-top macaroni and cheese. G. Daniela Galarza, Washington Post, "The Thanksgiving sheet-pan plan," 10 Nov. 2020 Laird makes a Hickory smoked macaroni and cheese dish which are individually baked and served in its own ramekin. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "From self-serve food to batched cocktails, here are safety tips for Kentucky Derby at home," 29 Aug. 2020 Koren has shot some of my favorite stories and cookbooks from the past few years, like this feature on underground chefs in South L.A. and this story about Sriracha baked macaroni and cheese. Soleil Ho,, "Fresh blood at Bon Appetit: What’s next after a year of racial tumult?," 2 Nov. 2020 Jake writes: My wife puts ketchup on her macaroni and cheese. New York Times, "Judge John Hodgman on Leftovers Etiquette," 29 Oct. 2020 The program didn’t provide free meals for its charges, so Jordan’s mom made dinners herself, giant batches of spaghetti with marinara and pepperoni, and her famous macaroni and cheese. Kristen Mascia, Marie Claire, "This Chef Is Feeding Maryland’s Hungry—in More Ways Than One," 28 Sep. 2020 In August, Kraft launched a rebranding campaign, labeling its classic macaroni and cheese as a breakfast food. Alexis Benveniste, CNN, "Pumpkin spice mac and cheese is coming but there's a wait list," 23 Sep. 2020 Try them stuffed with a three-cheese macaroni, Reuben sandwich filling, a Sunday turkey dinner, gyro meat, or create your own. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, "Nashville hot chicken, Sidebar at Surdyk's, and more restaurant openings in the Twin Cities," 17 Sep. 2020

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

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First Known Use of macaroni

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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.).

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The first known use of macaroni was in 1599

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Cite this Entry

“Macaroni.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for macaroni



English Language Learners Definition of macaroni

: a type of pasta in the shape of small curved tubes


mac·​a·​ro·​ni | \ ˌma-kə-ˈrō-nē How to pronounce macaroni (audio) \

Kids Definition of macaroni

: pasta in the shape of little curved tubes

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