cal·​a·​mari | \ ˌkä-lə-ˈmär-ē How to pronounce calamari (audio) , ˈka-lə-ˌmer-ē \

Definition of calamari

: squid used as food

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The word calamari was borrowed into English from 17th-century Italian, where it functioned as the plural of "calamaro" or "calamaio." The Italian word, in turn, comes from the Medieval Latin noun calamarium, meaning "ink pot or "pen case," and can be ultimately traced back to Latin calamus, meaning "reed pen." The transition from pens and ink to squid is not surprising, given the inky substance that a squid ejects and the long tapered shape of the squid's body. English speakers have also adopted "calamus" itself as a word referring to both a reed pen and to a number of plants.

Examples of calamari in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The food menu focuses on sharable starters such as queso fundido, steak tacos and calamari. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, 12 Nov. 2021 Fried calamari, so often either fishy or tasteless, are flavorful and perfectly cooked to a light golden crispiness ($12). John Mariani, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 Takeout and dine-in Start your culinary tour of Italy with fried calamari, caprese salad or homemade meatballs over penne in marinara. Georgann Yara, The Arizona Republic, 13 Sep. 2021 At The Café, best bets are the burger with bacon, red onion marmalade, and ale house cheddar ($26), or the prawn and calamari cookpot with crisp toast ($35)., 13 July 2021 The food was horribly expensive and absolutely perfect: the gloriously briny Caesar salad (with two types of anchovies), velvet circles of fried calamari, garlic-bathed shrimp scampi the size of small bananas. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 19 May 2021 For lunch, head to Bacarando in Corte dell'Orso for Italian staples like fresh calamari and lasagna made with homemade pasta. Kwin Mosby, Travel + Leisure, 2 Oct. 2021 Starters, including crispy calamari and Buffalo wings, pair great with two dozen beers on tap, plus a healthy list of bottled and canned brews. Kori Rumore,, 23 Sep. 2021 Back on the restaurant patio at Fisherman’s Wharf, two pigeons and a sparrow wrestled with a ring of fried calamari at our feet. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calamari.' 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 calamari

1826, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for calamari

Italian, plural of calamaro, calamaio, from Medieval Latin calamarium ink pot, from Latin calamus; from the inky substance the squid secretes

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The first known use of calamari was in 1826

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Last Updated

3 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Calamari.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of calamari for Spanish Speakers


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