Why is Pizza Called Pizza? Find all the Knead to Know Facts!

By: the PROs

Why is Pizza Called Pizza? Find all the Knead to Know Facts!

Why is pizza called pizza?

Are you wondering why is pizza called pizza?

We all know what pizza is. Right? 

However, do some of you wonder about the history of why pizza is called pizza? 

We bet you’re curious to know every detail if you’re a pizza lover. 

Keep reading as we’ll go through more about why pizza is called pizza, its origin, its inventor, and when the word was invented in the first place.

Let’s get started!

Why is Pizza Called Pizza?

Pizza is called “pizza” because it evolved from the Old Italian word “pitta,” meaning “pie,” which itself originated from the ancient Latin word “picea” used to describe the blackening of bread in an oven.

Why is Pizza Called Pizza?

The question you’ve posed has surely crossed the minds of many a pizza lover! Why is pizza called pizza, indeed?

The origin of the word “pizza” can be traced back to ancient times. Picture yourself in Southern Italy, walking through the cobblestone streets of Naples in the 18th century. The aroma of freshly baked pizza wafts through the air as you pass by a bustling pizzeria. There in Naples, the modern pizza we all know and love was born.

But the story doesn’t start there! Oh, no. To find the true beginnings of the word “pizza,” we must go back even further to the ancient Latin word “picea.” The Romans used this term to describe the blackening of bread in an oven. Over time, the word evolved into “pitta,” which meant “pie” in Old Italian. The transformation was almost complete.

As pizza began to take its modern form, the Neapolitans started to refer to it as “piza” or “picea” in their local dialect. Fast forward to the 19th century, and the word “pizza” was officially born! So, it turns out that “pizza” is simply an evolved version of an old word for “pie.”

Isn’t it fascinating how a humble term for blackened bread morphed into the name of one of the most beloved dishes in the world? It’s a testament to the power of language and the ever-evolving nature of human communication. And now, when you bite into your next slice, you can impress your fellow pizza enthusiasts with this tasty tidbit of linguistic history!

What Was Pizza Originally Called?

If you look at a 1598 dictionary by John Florio, he explains the meaning of pizza as “a little cake or wafer,” you’ll see that the word “pizza” wasn’t even used in English until the 1800s. 

Pizza is unquestionably an Italian term, but the definitions of its base elements aren’t always easy to pin down. No matter where it originated, we always refer to it as “delicious.”

Florio's Italian English Dictionary

John Florio (1553?1625), known in Italian as Giovanni Florio, was a linguist and lexicographer, a royal language tutor at the Court of James I, and a possible friend and influence on William Shakespeare. His Italian and English dictionary, entitled A World of Words, was published in folio in 1598. A substantially expanded version of A World of Words was published in 1611 as Queen Anna's New World of Words, or Dictionarie of the Italian and English.

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Who Invented Pizza Name?

Even though it is a well-established fact that the name “pizza” originated in Italy, the history of this food is still mostly unknown to us. 

Various historians provide a variety of responses when questioned about the origin of pizza, depending on their perspectives. 

It also relies on your conception of the kind of pizza discussed here.

People who migrated from the Middle East to Babylon, Israel, and Egypt are credited with inventing pizza. 

If you consider pizza to be a kind of flatbread that is baked in an oven, then these migrants are the ones who invented pizza. 

This resulted from the fact that these folks often consumed flatbread baked in clay ovens.

If, on the other hand, pizza is understood to be nothing more than bread topped with various ingredients, then the Romans and Greeks should be given credit for its invention. 

Olive oil and other spices were spread over bread, traditionally eaten by Greeks and Romans in the past. The current generation refers to this dish as “focaccia bread.”

When Was The Word Pizza Invented?

English speakers were the first to use “pizza” in the early 1800s. However, early English lexicographer John Florio contributed the phrase “pizza” to an Italian-English dictionary in 1598. 

This was the first recorded usage of the term. An early Latin document from 997 A.D. recorded the term “pizza.” 

Word pizza
Why is Pizza Called Pizza?

Pizza was originally a Roman dish.

According to the document, the bishop of the town of Gaeta, which is located in Italy, was to be given Duodecim “pizze,” which translates to “twelve pizzas,” on both Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.

What Do They Call Pizza In Italy?

Italians call this food by many names, like Pizza, Crostata, and Tora, because the word has long existed. 

What does “Crostata” mean, and what does it have to do with “Torta”? Crostata, which means “tart,” is the Italian word for most pizza dishes. 

A “torta,” or a cake, is another type of food. After a long time, Italians called it “pizza.”

Since then, that’s what they’ve always called it. Also, an Italian would never think of calling something other than pizza a dish with sauce and cheese on top of the flat, spherical dough.

Who Calls Pizza a Pie?

The only people in the world who refer to pizza as a pie live in the United States of America. But not all over the country, just in some particular areas. 

As time has progressed, the term “pie” has become more common as a standalone slang term for pizza. For instance, someone may say something like, “I’ll take two pies to go,” for example. 

This is particularly frequent among elderly Italian-Americans.

Even inside the United States, there are various methods to use it; however, the most frequent approach is used on the northeast coast, particularly in New York.

Some people in the United States are entirely unfamiliar with the meaning of this term.

People may be puzzled when they hear “pie” describe pizza since pies often have a crust. 

Pizza, on the other hand, does not typically have a crust. People are probably confused since pizza pie was solely famous in the United States, as the Americans alone popularized the dish.

For more information on why is pizza called a pie check our article Why is Pizza Called Pie?

How Do You Pronounce the Word Pizza Correctly?

Why does the pronunciation of the word “pizza” include the letter “t”? This comes up a lot in the conversations. 

Isn’t it true that there is no “t” in pizza?

The word “pizza” comes from an old form of the Italian language, where its modern meaning comes from. 

On the other hand, the letter “t” never shows up in how Italian words are spoken. 

It sounds like /pid.za/ when you say it in Italian. 

When expressed in English, the term is often pronounced more like /pit.tsa/, with the “t” sound included in the pronunciation. 

To put it another way, the language is not the same as Italian.

The way people in Naples and England pronounce the word is similar. If you listen to a person from Naples, you’ll hear them say “zz” more like “tts/.” 

Naples is in the south of Italy, so it is so hot. When you use “pizza” in regular conversation, you may use Neopolitan, a Naples dialect.

Here’s How to Pronounce Pizza

What is the Difference Between Tomato Pie and Pizza?

Your answer to this question might be different depending on where you live. 

The base of the traditional tomato pie is thick, rectangular, and chewy, just like the focaccia base. 

On the other hand, pizza usually has a round shape, a thicker crust, and more toppings, like mozzarella and pepperoni

The base is topped with finely chopped tomatoes, which are the central part of the meal. 

Add a little olive oil and a strong-flavored, crumbly cheese like Parmesan or another Romano cheese to finish the meal.

The Last Slice

We hope that you’ve learned why is pizza called pizza. Pizza has been around for a long time. Also, its popularity is at an all-time high now, not only in the U.S. but also in Italy and other places worldwide. 

If you’re a pizza lover or someone who loves to bake one, we hope this post has given you some knowledge about why pizza is called pizza and its short history.

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