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Is scampi the common name used for the kind of shrimp in the picture in American English? Or is there an alternative common name for it? I ask because some Americans don't really know the word when I mention it to them.

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Check out Wikipedia on shrimp or a definition of scampi. I have not heard "scampi" alone, but rather "shrimp scampi," in the US to refer to shrimp prepared a certain way, regardless of what kind of shrimp. –  aedia λ Jul 24 '11 at 18:44
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Dang! In the UK that would be "monster ginormous scampi"! –  FumbleFingers Jul 24 '11 at 19:05
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Them things have claws. Them things ain't shrimp. But they do look yummy. –  Marthaª Jul 25 '11 at 16:46
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Them is crawdads. –  Malvolio Sep 18 '12 at 1:14
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@Malvolio: them ain't crawdads. Crawdads are freshwater critters, and those guys live in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic near Europe. We don't have them in the U.S., which is why Americans don't know the name for them. –  Peter Shor Jan 3 at 15:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

That species (the Norwegian lobster) is known as either scampi (always in the plural in English for some reason) or langoustine, if the method of preparation is French. In North American usage, scampi is also often used for prawn prepared according to Italian recipes (the term is also somewhat interchangeable in Italy).

The word isn't unknown, but the little lobsters (they're not shrimp) are nearly so; shrimp, prawn, various larger species of lobster (American lobster served whole, or spiny lobster served as "lobster tails"), and crayfish (freshwater lobster) are much more common in North America -- we have substantial fisheries for all of them here. "Foodies" will know what scampi are, but most people will either not know the word or associate it with the shrimp dish at the local Italian restaurant.

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brilliant answer. thanks! –  130490868091234 Jul 26 '11 at 4:34

Scampi is the name of Nephrops norvegicus. In Britain, the fish labelling regulations state that these four names can be used for Nephrops norvegicus: Scampi, Dublin Bay prawns, Langoustine, and Norway lobster.

In America, the word scampi was first used as a name for the dish Scampi fritti, or deep-fried shrimp, since they didn’t have Nephrops norvegicus in the States.

The word scampi is, to conclude, the name of a certain species (animal)— not the name of a shrimp (Tiger prawns, King prawns or Giant prawns, cultured prawns). And as such, it has nothing to do with cultured prawns; they are a quite different species.

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