The nouns kielbasa and pastrami are distantly related! Kielbasa was borrowed in the 1950s from Polish kiełbasa, which meant "sausage". That's thought to derive from Turkish kulbasti, meaning "grilled cutlet" or more literally translating to "pressed on the ashes". Pastrami took a different path, coming at the turn of the twentieth century from Yiddish pastrame. Through Romanian, that traces to Turkish basdirma, meaning "dried meat" and literally translating to "press down". The connection between these words is Turkish bas, "to press"; apparently pressing was involved in the production of both types of meats (beyond that, it's reconstructed to Proto-Turkic bas, with the same definition). As a Serbian speaker, it was cool to find the cognates kobasica and pastrami - the language has a lot of Turkish influence because of the Ottoman Empire.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.