In Bulgarian we have the word "колбас" (kolbas) which means roughly "cooked meat, almost always with additives, usually ground, usually wrapped in an intestine or in something else".

English terms that denote kinds of "kolbas" include:

  • Sausage
  • Salami
  • Bacon
  • Ham

But online dictionaries translate "kolbas" to simply "sausage", which is really only one kind of "kolbas".

Note: I found the cognate "Kiełbasa" which has been borrowed into English from Polish. But it means just a type of sausage.

  • "Cold cuts" covers pretty much all precooked, processed meat products except what I would call breakfast sausages. Sausages may or may not be sold precooked. There is also charcuterie, but I don't know how widely or well that term is known.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 18:55
  • Is that related to Kabanos Sausage? Which I've always assumed came from Eastern Europe rather than the Med - they're well enough known to me in SE UK, but definitely not English. Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 19:02
  • 1
    If you go looking for them in a US supermarket they'll often be under a sign saying "deli meats."
    – Rob_Ster
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 19:18
  • 1
    I’m a bit confused. Bacon does not fit the description you give (at least not raw). Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 19:43
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    I'd go with "processed meats", but I don't have references or enough justification to make it an answer.
    – IanF1
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 22:37

2 Answers 2


According to this definition charcuterie covers most of the prepared meat products listed in the question. It is originally a French term but has been adopted into English so seems like a good translation of kolbas

  • Calling ham and bacon charcuterie seems quite odd, though. And I suspect there are several kinds of cold cuts which would count as charcuterie, but probably not as kolbasa. Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 9:35
  • @JanusBahsJacquet That's the trouble with translation generally though, there are very few exact translations between any two languages. It's why charcuterie has been adopted into English from French and delicatessen from German because English didn't have a good word for either. Also the linked definition says that charcuterie means cold cooked meat which covers ham and bacon as far as I'm concerned.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 19:38

Sausage is the generic term covering raw, ground meat and spices in a casing of some sort. (For example, typical Italian sausage, or breakfast links.)

It also refers to those types which are preserved by smoking and drying, like, salamis, summer sausages and pepperoni.

"Sausage" can also be used to describe the myriad German "wursts". (US)

  • 1
    Doesn’t work for ham and bacon, though (even if bacon doesn’t actually fit the description given by the asker, ham does). The main difference would be that the Bulgarian term only implies usually ground and usually encased, whereas both are an integral part of the definition of sausage. Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 21:00

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