A sandwich is handheld and portable. This one is made with salami.

A sandwich is a food item, typically consisting of two or more slices of bread with one or more fillings between them,[1] or one slice of bread with a topping or toppings, commonly called an open sandwich. Sandwiches are a widely popular type of lunch food, typically taken to work or school, or picnics to be eaten as part of a packed lunch. They generally contain a combination of salad vegetables, meat, cheese, and a variety of sauces or savoury spreads. The bread can be used as it is, or it can be coated with any condiments to enhance flavour and texture. They are widely sold in restaurants and cafes.



English sandwiches, crustless on a plate
Sandwich with fried egg, tomato and cucumber

Bread has been eaten with any meat or vegetables since Neolithic times. For example, the ancient Jewish sage Hillel the Elder is said to have placed meat from the Paschal lamb and bitter herbs between two pieces of matzah (or flat, unleavened bread) during Passover.[2] During the Middle Ages, thick slabs of coarse and usually stale bread, called "trenchers", were used as plates.[3] After a meal, the food-soaked trencher was fed to a dog or to beggars, or eaten by the diner. Trenchers were the precursors of open-face sandwiches.[4] The immediate cultural precursor with a direct connection to the English sandwich was to be found in the Netherlands of the 17th century, where the naturalist John Ray observed[5] that in the taverns beef hung from the rafters "which they cut into thin slices and eat with bread and butter laying the slices upon the butter"— explanatory specifications that reveal the Dutch belegde broodje was as yet unfamiliar in England.

Initially perceived as food men shared while gaming and drinking at night, the sandwich slowly began appearing in polite society as a late-night meal among the aristocracy. The sandwich's popularity in Spain and England increased dramatically during the 19th century, when the rise of an industrial society and the working classes made fast, portable, and inexpensive meals essential.[6]

It was at the same time that the sandwich finally began to appear outside of Europe. In the United States, the sandwich was first promoted as an elaborate meal at supper. By the early 20th century, as bread became a staple of the American diet, the sandwich became the same kind of popular, quick meal as was already widespread in the Mediterranean.[6]


The first written usage of the English word appeared in Edward Gibbon's journal, in longhand, referring to "bits of cold meat" as a "Sandwich".[7] It was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century English aristocrat, although he was neither the inventor nor sustainer of the food. It is said that he ordered his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread, and because Montagu also happened to be the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, others began to order "the same as Sandwich!"[4] It is said that Lord Sandwich was fond of this form of food because it allowed him to continue playing cards, particularly cribbage, while eating without getting his cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands.[4]

The rumour in its familiar form appeared in Pierre-Jean Grosley's Londres (Neichatel, 1770), translated as A Tour to London 1772;[8] Grosley's impressions had been formed during a year in London in 1765. The sober alternative is provided by Sandwich's biographer, N. A. M. Rodger, who suggests Sandwich's commitments to the navy, to politics and the arts mean the first sandwich was more likely to have been consumed at his desk.

In India

When the British first introduced the sandwich in India, the Indians called them double roti (डबल रोटी). This term has today become the broad term for all type of leavened bread even not put in a sandwich arrangement.


In the United States, a court in Boston, Massachusetts ruled that "sandwich" includes at least two slices of bread.[1] and "under this definition and as dictated by common sense, this court finds that the term "sandwich" is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice, and beans."[9] The issue stemmed from the question of whether a restaurant that sold burritos could move into a shopping centre where another restaurant had a no-compete clause in its lease prohibiting other "sandwich" shops.

In Spain, where the word sandwich is borrowed from the English language,[10] it refers to a food item made with English sandwich bread.[11] It is otherwise known as a bocadillo.

The verb to sandwich has the meaning to position anything between two other things of a different character, or to place different elements alternately,[12] and the noun sandwich has related meanings derived from this more general definition. For example, an ice cream sandwich consists of a layer of ice cream between two layers of cake or cookie.[13] Similarly, Oreos and Custard Creams are described as sandwich cookies because they consist of a soft filling between layers of cookie.[14]

The word "butty" is often used in Northern areas of the United Kingdom as a synonym for "sandwich," particularly in the name of certain kinds of sandwiches such as a chip butty, bacon butty, or sausage butty. "Sarnie" is a similar colloquialism, as is the Australian English colloquialism "sanger".

Types of sandwiches


See also

  • List of sandwiches


  1. ^ a b Abelson, Jenn. "Arguments spread thick". The Boston Globe, 10 November 2006. Accessed 27 May 2009.
  2. ^ Bavli Pesachim 115a; See also Passover Hagadah
  3. ^ Meads, Chris (2001). Banquets set forth: banqueting in English Renaissance drama. Manchester University Press. pp. 47. ISBN 0719055679. 
  4. ^ a b c What's Cooking America, Sandwiches, History of Sandwiches. 2 February 2007.
  5. ^ Ray, Observations topographical, moral, & physiological; made in a journey through part of the Low Countries, Germany, Italy, and France... (vol. I, 1673) quoted in Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches (1987:152).
  6. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, Solomon H. Katz, editor (Charles Scribner's Sons: New York) 2003
  7. ^ The Oxford English Dictionary gives its appearance as 1762.
  8. ^ Grosley, Londres (Neuchatel, 1770) and A Tour to London, or, New observations on England and its inhabitants, translated from the French by Thomas Nugent (London: Printed for Lockyer Davis) 1772; Hexmasters Faktoider: Sandwich: English quotes from Grosley 1772
  9. ^ White City Shopping Ctr., LP v. PR Rests., LLC, 21 Mass. L. Rep. 565 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2006)
  10. ^ Collado, Asunción López (1994-01) (in Spanish). Hostelería, curso completo de servicios. ISBN 9788428320351. Retrieved 11 July of 2010. 
  11. ^ "Consultorio gastronómico" (in Spanish). La Verdad Digital S.L.. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  12. ^ The Oxford English Dictionary
  13. ^ Taste Taste: Ice Cream Sandwiches,
  14. ^ Oreo Sandwich Cookies,
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Carlos, Brenda. "Fascinating Facts about the Sandwich". 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • sandwich — [ sɑ̃dwi(t)ʃ ] n. m. • 1802; mot angl. (1762), tiré du nom du comte de Sandwich, dont le cuisinier inventa ce mode de repas pour lui épargner de quitter sa table de jeu 1 ♦ Mets constitué de deux tranches de pain, entre lesquelles on place des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Sandwich — Sn std. (19. Jh.) Onomastische Bildung. Entlehnt aus ne. sandwich, so benannt nach dem Grafen von Sandwich, der als leidenschaftlicher Spieler belegte Brote zum Spiel mitnahm, um es nicht durch Mahlzeiten unterbrechen zu müssen.    Ebenso nndl.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Sandwich — Sandwich, IL U.S. city in Illinois Population (2000): 6509 Housing Units (2000): 2494 Land area (2000): 3.014091 sq. miles (7.806460 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.014091 sq. miles (7.806460… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • sandwich — [n] grinder BLT, club sandwich, Dagwood*, hero*, hoagie, open faced sandwich, Reuben, sub, submarine sandwich; concepts 457,460,461 …   New thesaurus

  • sandwich — ► NOUN 1) an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with a filling between them. 2) Brit. a sponge cake of two or more layers with jam or cream between them. ► VERB 1) (sandwich between) insert between (two people or things). 2) (sandwich …   English terms dictionary

  • Sandwich, IL — U.S. city in Illinois Population (2000): 6509 Housing Units (2000): 2494 Land area (2000): 3.014091 sq. miles (7.806460 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.014091 sq. miles (7.806460 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Sandwich, MA — U.S. Census Designated Place in Massachusetts Population (2000): 3058 Housing Units (2000): 1706 Land area (2000): 3.578713 sq. miles (9.268824 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.156599 sq. miles (0.405590 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.735312 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Sandwich — Sandwich: Die im 19. Jh. aus gleichbed. engl. sandwich entlehnte Bezeichnung für eine mit Butter bestrichene, mit kaltem Fleisch, Käse, Salat o. Ä. belegte (Weiß)brotscheibe oder Brötchenhälfte geht zurück auf J. Montague, den 4. Earl of Sandwich …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • sándwich — (plural sandwiches; del inglés; pronunciamos sángüich ) sustantivo masculino 1. Bocadillo preparado con rebanadas de pan inglés o pan de molde: un sándwich de jamón y queso, un sándwich mixto. 2. Origen: América. Bocadillo …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • sándwich — (Del ingl. sandwich, y este de J. Montagnu, 1718 1792, cuarto conde de Sandwich, de quien se cuenta que se alimentó de esta clase de comida para no abandonar una partida de cartas). m. Emparedado hecho con dos rebanadas de pan de molde entre las… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • sandwich — [sand′wich΄, san′wich΄] n. [after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718 92), said to have eaten these in order not to leave the gaming table for meals] 1. two or more slices of bread with a filling of meat, fish, cheese, jam, etc. between them …   English World dictionary

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