Delicatessen is a term meaning "delicacies" or "fine foods". In English, "delicatessen" originally meant only this specially-prepared food. In time, the delicatessen store where this food was sold came to be called a delicatessen, and the new meaning for the word was eventually shortened to deli. Delicatessen is a German loanword that first appeared in English in 1889; it is the plural form of Delicatesse. In German, it was originally a French loanword, delicatesse, meaning "delicious things (to eat)". The root word is the Latin adjective delicatus, meaning "giving pleasure, delightful, pleasing". The modern German version is spelled Delikatessen, which may have helped support the alternate popular etymology that the -essen part of the word derives from the German verb essen (English: to eat), or the noun das Essen (English: the food). This would imply that the word is a portmanteau of the German words delikat (English: delicious; nominative case) and Essen.
Contributions by Hafspajen, Cogibyte, and Opus33.