Everday Marvels

How did hot dogs get their name?


Hot dog! – Would you believe that the funny name of this classic food is unknown?!

The number of theories, stories, ideas, and rumors about how hot dogs got their name seems to be endless, and etymologists (people who study the origin of words) have been unable to decide on just one! The evolution of the name has been traced to different events from the 1800s and 1900s, when German immigrants were coming to the United States and bringing with them their specialty: Sausages!

One possible theory is that the name “hot dog” was part of a tease; in addition to sausages, Germans in the United States were also known for their dachshund dogs. The Germans’ sausages might have been given the name “hot dog” as part of a joke on how similar they were in shape to the Germans’ dachshunds!

Another story is that concessions vendor at a sports game called them “hot dachshund sausages” (again because of their similarity in shape to this breed of dog) which eventually became “hot dogs.”

Yet another theory has to do with a nickname given by Yale University students to street vendors selling sausages! (They called the vendors’ carts “dog wagons.”)

Regardless of where the name came from, there is one thing that everyone agrees on: Hot dogs are definitely not made from dogs, as their name implies. Most hot dogs are made of pork or beef, though some are also made from chicken, turkey, or tofu. – YUM!

(by Mya Kagan)


What's in a name?

The names for lots of different things have special meanings. This can be particularly true for the names of people! Find out if your family's last name has any special meanings or cool origins. And what about your first name? Was it picked for a special reason or because of specific meaning??