antedating scampi (UNCLASSIFIED)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 14 18:28:19 UTC 2010

Of course in our culture "scampi" has come to
usually designate not the variety of seafood
itself, but a prominent mode of its preparation.
I had "Mussels scampi" Sunday night in New York.
Further, "scampi" in such contexts isn't
interpreted the way "fish-cooked eggplant" (i.e.
eggplant cooked in the style of fish, in Chinese
cooking) is.  Rather, "scampi" seems to mean
basically baked or sauteed with garlic, olive
oil, parsley, and bread crumbs.  I don't know if
the meaning transfer or "adequation" [Gustav
Stern, 1931] can be dated.  (It's a bit like what
happened with "chili", as we discussed in a
distant thread.)  Let's see if the OED
tries...No, the closest they come is:

2a. (A dish of) these prawns eaten as a delicacy,
usu. coated with breadcrumbs and fried in oil, or
boiled and served with (garlic) sauce.

But the key shift is for "scampi" at least in the
U.S. to denote that preparation itself rather
than the prawns cooked that way.


At 7:12 PM +0100 12/14/10, Paul Frank wrote:
>On Tue, 14 Dec 2010 11:55 -0600, "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC"
><Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL> wrote:
>>  OED has 1928 for scampi (n)
>>  _Ironwood [MI] Daily Globe_ Mar 10 1920 p 2 col 5
>>  "His favorite dish is "scampi," a small crab-fish found only in the
>>  Quarnero."  Later in the article:
>>  " "Scampi" is the favorite seafood in practically all of the north
>>  Adriatic resorts."
>>>From a letter dated February 1, 1819:
>"Within this last fortnight I have been rather indisposed with a
>rebellion of stomach, which would retain nothing, (liver, I suppose) and
>an inability, or fantasy, not to be able to eat of any thing with relish
>but a kind of Adriatic fish called 'scampi,' which happens to be the
>most indigestible of marine viands."
>Thomas Moore, ed., The Works of Lord Byron: With his Letters and
>Journals, and his Life, Volume 4, 1947, p. 141. Google Books:
>Paul Frank
>Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
>Espace de l'Europe 16
>Neuchâtel, Switzerland
>paulfrank at
>paulfrank at
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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