I-ATE: Sandwich vs Panino vs Bocadillo

October 21, 2017 10:35 am

Whether it’s for lunch or just a snack, two slices of bread with ham and cheese in the middle can always comfortably satisfy your hunger. This simple meal has been eaten all over the world with different names, and may vary depending on the way it is served. Sandwich is the most common name for it and from this English word, we can trace its origins.

IATE-Food Term of the week2

“Sandwich was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich who was a notorious aristocrat gambler. In 1762, he ordered a cook to make food that he could eat without interfering with his game. The cook invented sliced meat between two pieces of toast” (Olver: 2015). This idea has traveled around the world with many different names. The most popular names of the ‘in between bread’ dish are panino and bocadillo because they have become favourites of tourists in Italy and Spain. Simply because tourists can eat them without losing time to travel around.

“Historically, the origins of panino can be traced back to a 16th century Italian recipe book, but it only became trendy in Milanese bars in the 1970s as workers were looking for quick lunch choices” (Jovina Cooks Italian: 2015). If you are roaming around Madrid, you can easily find bocadillo de calamares (Spanish sandwich filled with fried calamari). Among the differences between sandwich, panino and bocadillo, the breads and the fillings have been changed based on people’s favourites. You can enjoy the different versions toasted and non-toasted. Talking about sandwich vs panino vs bocadillo, which one do you like more?

“Available in almost any bar in Catalunya, a bikini is the name given to a toasted sandwich containing melted queso manchego or processed cheese and jamón dulce (ham)” (IberiaNature: 2006). Other names are smørrebrød that is translated from Danish as ‘spread bread’ or butter bread with pickled herring, and bánh mì which is Vietnamese fusion food with French baguette” (Johnston: 2015).

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Whatever you call it, this meal has become a favourite for lunchtime. Did we miss any other words for sandwich in your language? Tell us if you know it!


  • Iberianature. (2006). Bread in Catalonia and Spain. Available at: http://bit.ly/2ywunql [Accessed 18 October 2017]
  • Jovina Cooks Italian. (2015). Panini Time. Available at: http://bit.ly/2x4WZ73 [Accessed 18 October 2017]
  • Johnston, D. (2015). America’s new sandwich heroes (inspired abroad). Available at: http://cnn.it/2yqzEk7 [Accessed 18 October 2017]
  • Oliver, L. (2015). FAQs: sandwiches …..Have questions?. Available at: http://bit.ly/2hNOerD [Accessed 18 October 2017]

Written by Agusmia Putri Haerani – Study Visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. Student of Master in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts in the University of Luxembourg. Social Media Student Assistant of the University of Luxembourg.

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