I was just researching its etymology and turns out that it comes from calceus the Latin for shoe! How did Latin for shoe end up as the Italian (and subsequently, English) for a snack? They seem so unrelated!

Here's what Merriem Webster says about its etymology:

Origin of CALZONE

Italian, from calzone (singular of calzoni pants), augmentative of calza stocking, from Medieval Latin calcea, from Latin calceus shoe, from calc-, calx heel First Known Use: 1947

enter image description here

  • 2
    I'm not sure if etymology of Italian cuisine is on-topic here. But maybe the snack looks like a shoe? – oerkelens Nov 26 '14 at 7:04
  • 4
    The word has been adopted well enough in English to ensure the question is on-topic. All major dictionaries should attest this. And to me, the snack looks rather like a half moon than a shoe. – TheLearner Nov 26 '14 at 7:08
  • 4
    But the connection between filling a stocking or a trouser leg, and folding a pasta-sheet so it can be filled is not a clear? From several descriptions, the main idea of a calzone is that it's a stuffed pizza, a pizza that is filled in the way you could fill a stocking. Your statement that nobody can relate a calzone to a trouser leg or stocking is a clear overstatement. – oerkelens Nov 26 '14 at 7:32
  • 3
    calzone is a "trouser leg" and its plural form calzoni is another word for pantaloni, which is how the Americans got their word pants which in BrEng is normally called trousers :) You can also fill the leg of your trousers, calzone, is a pizza just folded over itself. It is like a glorified wrap. – Mari-Lou A Nov 26 '14 at 7:43
  • 2
    @Amit Yes, ‘sand’ figures in the etymological history of sandwich just as much as ‘shoe’ figures in the etymological history of calzone. The name Sandwich, after which the food was named, comes from OE sandwicæ ‘sand beach/harbour/trade post’. Claiming that calzone means ‘shoe’ makes no more sense than claiming that sandwich means ‘sandy beach’—in fact, it makes less sense, since the word calzone has never meant ‘shoe’ in any stage of any language whatsoever. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 26 '14 at 11:16

The origin of the term 'calzone' meaning 'pizza calzone' is not clear. Actually calzone is the augmentative form of the term 'calza' which means stocking. The idea is that of a 'Christmas stocking' filled with food, a popular idea in the south of Italy.

As Mari Lou rightly pointed out, the stocking full of gifts we are referring to comes from the Epiphany Eve custom which traditionally closes the Christmas period celebrations in Italy.

Le calze della Befana

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    The stocking is not really related to Father Christmas, but with the Befana an old ugly witch who flies on her broom (January 6th) and fills children's stockings with sweets, or lumps of coal and onions if the children have misbehaved during the year. Nowadays the lumps of coal are just black sugar candies in the form of coal/cokes. In WWII, many Italian families couldn't afford to buy candy/sweets to fill the stockings, so they used tangerines and clementines instead. – Mari-Lou A Nov 26 '14 at 7:59
  • 1
    Yes, I know...I mentioned 'Christmas' to make it more readily undestandable...the idea remains that of a stocking full of gifts. – user66974 Nov 26 '14 at 8:04
  • 1
    Yes, but you're talking about Italian traditions, and calzone is an Italian expression not English one. And food is ambiguous, I might think that Sicilians fill their stockings with meat, pasta and cheese. It's not really gifts at least not traditionally, see my comment above. I would have answered this question myself, but what would I effectively add? – Mari-Lou A Nov 26 '14 at 8:46
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA: in the U.S., there has been a tradition of putting an orange in Christmas stockings that goes back at least to the beginning of the 20th century (see this web page), which may have started because (except in Florida) they were more expensive and rarer than candy. – Peter Shor Nov 26 '14 at 14:49
  • 1
    There is a Mexican fast food that is like a taco or tostada, but served on a thick elongated tortilla. It is called a huarache, which is a type of sandal. – Brian Hitchcock Mar 30 '15 at 6:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.