Hamburger patties on a grill.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- ground beef
- a fried, broiled, or baked patty of such meat
- a sandwich made with such a patty, usually in a round bun
Origin: earlier Hamburg steak, after Hamburg
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- a. Ground meat, usually beef.b. A patty of such meat.
- A sandwich made with a patty of ground meat usually in a roll or bun.
Origin: Short for Hamburger steak, after Hamburg.Word History: Because the world has eaten countless hamburgers, the origins of the name may be of interest to many. By the middle of the 19th century people in the port city of Hamburg, Germany, enjoyed a form of pounded beef called Hamburg steak. The large numbers of Germans who migrated to North America during this time probably brought the dish and its name along with them. The entrée may have appeared on an American menu as early as 1836, although the first recorded use of Hamburg steak is not found until 1884. The variant form hamburger steak, using the German adjective Hamburger meaning “from Hamburg,” first appears in a Walla Walla, Washington, newspaper in 1889. By 1902 we find the first description of a Hamburg steak close to our conception of the hamburger, namely a recipe calling for ground beef mixed with onion and pepper. By then the hamburger was on its way, to be followed—much later—by the shortened form burger, used in forming cheeseburger and the names of other variations on the basic burger, as well as on its own.