1610s, Hamburger "native of Hamburg." Also used of ships from Hamburg. From 1838 as a type of excellent black grape indigenous to Tyrolia; 1857 as a variety of hen; the meat product so called from 1880 (as hamburg steak), named for the German city, though no certain connection has ever been put forth, and there may not be one unless it be that Hamburg was a major port of departure for German immigrants to United States. Meaning "a sandwich consisting of a bun and a patty of grilled hamburger meat" attested by 1909, short for hamburger sandwich (1902). Shortened form burger attested from 1939; beefburger was attempted 1940, in an attempt to make the main ingredient more explicit, after the -burger had taken on a life of its own as a suffix (compare cheeseburger, first attested 1938).
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