olla podrida


ol·​la po·​dri·​da ˈä-lə-pə-ˈdrē-də How to pronounce olla podrida (audio)
plural olla podridas ˈä-lə-pə-ˈdrē-dəz How to pronounce olla podrida (audio)
also ollas podridas ˈä-ləz-pə-ˈdrē-dəz How to pronounce olla podrida (audio)
: a rich highly seasoned stew of meat and vegetables usually including sausage and chick-peas that is slowly simmered and is a traditional Spanish and Latin American dish

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The Appetizing Origins of Olla Podrida

In 1599, lexicographer John Minsheu wanted to know "from whence or why they call it olla podrida." Good question. No one is sure why the Spanish used a term that means "rotten pot" to name a tasty stew, but there has been plenty of speculation on the subject. One theory holds that the name developed because the long, slow cooking process required to make the stew was compared to the process of rotting, but there's no definitive evidence to support that idea. It is more certain that both French and English speakers borrowed olla podrida and later adapted the term for other mixtures whose content was as varied as the stew. The French also translated olla podrida as pot pourri, an expression English speakers adapted to potpourri.

Examples of olla podrida in a Sentence

the olla podrida of tongues that one hears on the streets of a bustling metropolis like New York City

Word History


Spanish, literally, rotten pot

First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of olla podrida was in 1590


Dictionary Entries Near olla podrida

Cite this Entry

“Olla podrida.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/olla%20podrida. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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