Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

A Word A Day — espresso


Good morning, Netizens...


November 03, 2012

Word of the Day


  • espresso

  • audio pronunciation

  • \eh-SPRESS-oh\





: strong coffee brewed by forcing steam through finely ground darkly roasted coffee beans


: a cup of espresso



Joan couldn't begin her day without at least one cup of espresso to wake her up.

"I actually have a little espresso sometimes right before working out." — Natalie Morales on The Today Show (NBC News), September 19, 2012



"Espresso" is short for "caffè espresso," which is Italian for "pressed-out coffee"; the name quite accurately describes the process of making the beverage. The word first appeared in print in English in 1945 as part of the phrase "caffè espresso," and soon it was flying solo. You may be tempted to use "expresso" instead of "espresso." If so, you're not alone—by 1955 this variant was found in print too. One common misconception is that "caffè espresso" means "fast coffee," which makes "expresso" more logical to English-speakers (by analogy with "express"). It's also possible that "expresso" came about simply by transforming "espresso" to a word that looked more familiar. "Espresso" remains by far the more popular variant, although "expresso" continues to turn up.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.