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What’s in a word – Barbeque

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Do you know what ‘barbeque’ (or BBQ) means?

It is a cooking style in which food is cooked outdoors over an open fire, on a metal grill. Barbequed food usually has extra spices and sauces.

It is a very popular way of cooking and many cultures all over the world enjoy different kinds of barbequed dishes. Barbeque also refers to a party where such food is served.

What is the origin of this word?

Cooking food over an open fire has been popular since humans started using fire 1.8 million years ago.

However, the specific term ‘barbeque’ (food cooked over a grill or pit and covered in spices) comes from the language of a Caribbean Indian tribe called the Taino. Their word for grilling on a raised wooden grate is “barbacoa”.

The word first appeared in a Spanish explorer’s story of his adventures in the West Indies in 1526. Since then, barbeque has become very popular.

Barbeque is an important part of American culture, especially in the southern states. It is very commonly linked mostly with meat but vegetables also taste equally delicious barbequed.


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English is one of the most commonly used languages today. However, many words in the English language come from different languages, especially, Greek and Latin. They usually have some interesting history behind them and it is fun to find out about them. So, in this “What’s in a word” series, come along with us at Curious Times as we try to find out the origin of common English words. Prepare to be awed, impressed or even shocked sometimes.

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