Merriam Webster says that a hot dog is a sandwich, but many disagree.


Emily Hankins

As the beginning of summer nears, cookouts are starting to pop up more and more. More cookouts means more hot dogs, leading to more debates over whether or not the food is in fact a sandwich. Depending on which sources one looks at, varying opinions are given. Merriam Webster declared that the hot dog is in fact a sandwich in an article published in 2016. However, questions still arise over the validity of the claim. So why shouldn’t the hot dog be considered a sandwich?

The most prominent issue with the definition is that the bread on the roll is connected. In a traditional sandwich, such as peanut butter and jelly, the bread is not connected. However, rolls are connected, making one single piece of bread that surrounds the hot dog. The roll is also opened at the top, rather than the side, which would make it more like a sub than a sandwich.

Some celebrities have commented on the issue, including David Schwimmer (“I would say, ‘No,’ because the bread is joined. I define a sandwich as two pieces of bread with stuff between it, so I would say, ‘No.’ That’s why I wouldn’t say a lobster roll is a sandwich. A lobster roll is a roll.”), Rachael Ray (“I think a hot dog is a hot dog. Unless I made a sandwich out of a bunch of chopped up hot dogs.”), and Jimmy Kimmel (“By my definition, a hot dog is a hot dog. It’s its own thing with its own specialized bun.”).

Although Merriam Webster may say that the hot dog is a sandwich, Cambridge English Dictionary disagrees. According to the dictionary, a sandwich is “slices or pieces of meat, cheese, salads, etc., put between two pieces of bread that are held together by the person who picks them up when ready to eat.” The definition does not encompass hot dogs, leading to the overall conclusion that hot dogs are not in fact sandwiches.