General English


  • A popular and cheap meal, which was once used for leftover dough from bread baking. The yeast-raised dough is rolled out into a thin circle, covered with sieved tomatoes, oregano and pieces of Mozzarella cheese together with various toppings such as ham, salami, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, anchovies, olives, etc. all in small pieces. This is cooked quickly in the oven on a flat sheet or in a shallow dish until the cheese melts and bubbles.


  • noun an Italian savoury dish, consisting of a flat round piece of dough cooked with tomatoes, onions, cheese, and often sliced meat or vegetables on top.

Origin & History of “pizza”

Italian pizza is quite a broad term, signifying ‘cake’, ‘tart’ or ‘pie’ and encompassing dishes as diverse as a closed fruit pie and a flat bread-dough base with a topping. It is the latter, of course, that brought the word into English. At first, both the word and the foodstuff were unfamiliar enough for the tautologous name ‘pizza pie’ to be deemed necessary, but the fast-food revolution from the 1960s onwards has thoroughly naturalized pizza (US fast-food outlets have their own abbreviation, za). The origin of the Italian word is uncertain. It has been linked with vulgar Latin *picea, a derivative of Latin pyx ‘pitch’ (in which case it would be paralleled by Welsh bara pyglyd, literally ‘pitchy bread’, possibly a reference to its colour, from which English gets pikelet (18th c.), the name of a type of tea-cake), but it could also be related to modern Greek pitta (source of English pitta (20th c.)), which may be a descendant of classical Greek peptos ‘cooked’.