AskDefine | Define spaghetti

Dictionary Definition

spaghetti n : pasta in the form of long strings

User Contributed Dictionary



Italian (see Italian etymology below)


  • spəgĕtʹē, /spəˈɡɛti/, /sp@"gEti/
  • Rhymes: -ɛti


spaghetti (uncountable; an individual strand is called a piece of spaghetti or a strand of spaghetti, or rarely spaghetto, derived from the Italian form)
  1. A type of pasta made in the shape of long thin strings.
  2. (in singular: strand of spaghetti) an individual piece of spaghetti
  3. A dish that has spaghetti as a main part of it, such as spaghetti bolognese.
  4. Informally, any type of pasta.
  5. Electrical insulating tubing.
  6. Anything tangled or confusing.
  7. A short form of spaghetti code.

Related terms


strand of spaghetti
dish containing spaghetti
informally: any type of pasta See pasta
electrical insulating tubing
anything tangled or confusing
spaghetti code See spaghetti code



Italian (see Italian etymology below)


fr-noun m
  1. (usually in plural spaghettis) spaghetti
  2. strand of spaghetti



Plural of spaghetto, diminutive of spago, cord, string, from Latin spagus, string.


spaghetti m plural (singular spaghetto)

Extensive Definition

Spaghetti is a white, starchy pasta of Italian origin that is made in the form of long strings, boiled, and served with any of a variety of meat, tomato, or other sauces. Spaghetti is typically made from flour, salt, water, and/or eggs and then hung on a rack to dry. Most manufactured spaghetti comes commercially prepared and dried.


Spaghetti is the plural form of the Italian word spaghetto, which is a diminutive of spago, meaning "thin string" or "twine". The word spaghetti can be literally translated as "little strings".


While some people believe that spaghetti (or even pasta in some accounts) originated in China (where long thin noodles have a lengthy history), some now assert that the reading of a lost Marco Polo manuscript which led to this belief, was in fact an inaccurate Latin translation. Historically, people in Italy ate pasta in the form of gnocchi-like dumplings – pasta fresca eaten as soon as it was prepared. It has now been asserted that the Arabs who populated Southern Italy (around the 12th Century) were the first to develop the innovation of working pasta from grain into thin long forms, capable of being dried out and stored for months or years prior to consumption (see Peter Robb's Midnight in Sicily pp 94-96 for details). Legend has it that Cicero, the famous Roman orator was fond of "laganum", an ancient tagliatelle. The Saracens, originally from North Africa, invaded southern Italy in the 9th century and occupied Sicily for 200 years. Pasta is now associated with Italians as a whole. The popularity of pasta spread to the whole of Italy after the establishment of pasta factories in the 19th century, enabling the mass production of pasta for the Italian market.


Spaghetti is cooked by boiling the pasta with salt in water until soft. The consistency or texture of spaghetti changes as it is cooked. The most popular consistency is al dente (Italian 'to the tooth'); that is, soft but with texture, sometimes even with bite in the center. Others prefer their spaghetti cooked to a softer consistency. The best dried spaghetti is made from durum wheat semolina. Inferior spaghetti is often found produced with other kinds of flour, especially outside Italy. Fresh spaghetti should be prepared with grade '00' flour.
There are two other variants of spaghetti that require different cooking times. Spaghettini ("thin spaghetti") takes less time (usually two minutes less) to cook to al dente form than regular spaghetti. There is also spaghettoni ("thick spaghetti") which takes longer to cook. All three types of spaghetti are larger than the other round-rod pastas (like vermicelli).


An emblem of Italian cuisine, spaghetti is frequently served with tomato sauce, which may contain various herbs (especially oregano and basil), olive oil, meat, or vegetables. Other spaghetti preparations include Bolognese sauce and carbonara. Grated hard cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano, Parmesan or Asiago, are often added. Outside Italy it is often served with meatballs, although that is not a typical Italian recipe.
The manner of eating spaghetti varies according to local custom, but it is usually eaten with a fork, as with most other Continental dishes. Eating spaghetti with a fork and a spoon is considered perfectly polite in parts of the United States, although this method is widely disparaged in the US and elsewhere. In East Asia, many people use chopsticks as a form of eating rather than forks, as chopsticks are customary in most East Asian countries.
Another method of eating spaghetti, which is the traditional way in Italy, is to use just a fork and twist it so that the spaghetti wraps around the fork.

Cultural references

spaghetti in Catalan: Espagueti
spaghetti in Czech: Špagety
spaghetti in Danish: Spaghetti
spaghetti in German: Spaghetti
spaghetti in Spanish: Espagueti
spaghetti in Basque: Espageti
spaghetti in Persian: اسپاگتی
spaghetti in French: Spaghetti
spaghetti in Korean: 스파게티
spaghetti in Indonesian: Spageti
spaghetti in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Spaghetti
spaghetti in Italian: Spaghetti
spaghetti in Hebrew: ספגטי
spaghetti in Swahili (macrolanguage): Spaghetti
spaghetti in Lithuanian: Spagečiai
spaghetti in Lojban: cidjrspageti
spaghetti in Hungarian: Spagetti
spaghetti in Dutch: Spaghetti
spaghetti in Japanese: スパゲッティ
spaghetti in Norwegian: Spaghetti
spaghetti in Norwegian Nynorsk: Spaghetti
spaghetti in Polish: Spaghetti
spaghetti in Portuguese: Espaguete
spaghetti in Russian: Спагетти
spaghetti in Simple English: Spaghetti
spaghetti in Slovak: Špagety
spaghetti in Slovenian: Špageti
spaghetti in Finnish: Spagetti
spaghetti in Vietnamese: Mỳ ống Italia
spaghetti in Turkish: Makarna
spaghetti in Vlaams: Spaghetti
spaghetti in Chinese: 意大利粉
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