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Definition: A butcher’s shop specializing in pork products. A pork butchers.

Pronunciation: shar-koot-a-ree

Origin: The Latin ‘carnum’, meaning ‘meat’, and ‘cuit’, meaning ‘cooked, became ‘charcutier’ in Middle French. By the mid-1800s, it entered the English language as charcuterie, meaning a butcher’s store that specialized in pork products.

Why This Word?

That there would be a word referring to a store that exclusively sold pork products was news to me – but then, I guess it sort of makes sense. In the mid-1800s, many stores would have been linked directly to the farm. Farms at that time were specialized. They rarely raised more than one type of animal. Thus, if a farm raised only pigs, why not, then, sell the meat in a shop that specialized in pork? There is the logic to it.

How to use the word charcuterie in a sentence?

There are still a few charcuteries around – though, admittedly, not many. Today, those that survive, specialize in sausage, pork patés and hams.

It is possible that there may still be a space for this word. Nowadays, a business needs to find its unique selling point (USP) in order to find its niché. Many butchers are becoming specialists in different types of meat – so why not go the whole hog and call themselves a charcuterie?


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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