Merguez // is a red, spicy mutton- or beef-based fresh sausage in North African cuisine. It is also popular in the Middle East, and Europe, having become particularly popular in France by the closing decades of the twentieth century.
Merguez is a fresh sausage made with lamb, beef, or a mixture stuffed into a lamb-intestine casing. It is heavily spiced with cumin and chili pepper or harissa, which gives it its characteristic piquancy and red color, as well as other spices such as sumac, fennel, and garlic.
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The etymology of merguez is unclear. It may be from a Berber word amergaz "pie". It is probably not an Arabic word, and its spelling in Arabic has historically varied between mīrkās and mīrqās due to the lack of /ɡ/ sound in the Arabic alphabet.
In French police slang, the word merguez is used to describe a car that has been modified—such as filing away its engine number, or the inclusion of components from different cars—to make it hard to identify and correspondingly enhance its suitability for use in crimes.
Elsewhere in France merguez may be used to define a used car that has been involved in an accident and then repaired in a way that conceals the accident damage, in order to avoid a diminution in the vehicle's value. By extension, the term is sometimes used to describe a seemingly normal transaction that later turns out to be a scam.
- (French) Le Courrier de Mantes (ed.). "Petit lexique du jargon des flics". Retrieved 23 January 2008.
- Davidson, Alan, "Merguez", Oxford Companion to Food (1999), p. 497. ISBN 0-19-211579-0
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