Strozzapreti is a kind of hand-rolled pasta with a fascinating origin. The word comes from Italian, of course, but there it had an entirely different meaning: "priest-choker" or "priest-strangler". This is a very strange connection with no certain explanation, but there are several theories that explain the etymology. One school of thought is that the pasta was very popular among priests in southern Italy, who would eat it so ravenously that they choked themselves. Alternatively, in making the pasta, you would metaphorically "choke" the dough with enough anger to kill a priest, or it was a way to pay tithes to undeserving priests who deserved a choking, or the pasta resembled the type of collar worn by vicars. In short, we have no clue but many possibilities. Now we can break this up into two words: strozza, meaning "choke", and preti, meaning "priests". Strozza is specifically from the region of Lombardy, where it meant "throat", and preti comes from Latin presbyter- more on that and presbytarian in a future post.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd