from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sauce consisting of usually fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and grated cheese.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sauce, especially for pasta, originating from the Genoa region, made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese (usually Pecorino)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sauce used in Italian cuisine, typically made by blending olive oil, basil, garlic, pine nuts, and grated parmesan cheese; it is served hot or cold over pasta, meat, or fish. Where pine nuts are expensive, sunflower seeds are sometimes substituted.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a sauce typically served with pasta; contains crushed basil leaves and garlic and pine nuts and Parmesan cheese in olive oil


Italian, from past participle of pistare, pestare, to pound; see piston.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1937, from Italian pesto, contraction of pestato, form of pestare ("to pound in a mortar"). Cognate to pestle. (Wiktionary)



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