Scampi is a culinary name for some species of lobster, notably the ‘true’ scampi Nephrops norvegicus, and is also used as a name for a style of preparation of these lobsters and other seafood.
In both the United Kingdom and the USA, the word has come to define the method of preparation rather than the ingredient, although referring to quite different methods in the two countries.
In the United Kingdom, “scampi” refers to a dish of shelled lobster tail meat, that commonly comes prepared coated in breadcrumbs or batter, deep fried, and often served with chips, peas and Tartar sauce. In the Southern Hemisphere, other species of lobster are used instead, such as Metanephrops challengeri.
In the USA, “scampi” is often the menu name for shrimp in Italian-American cuisine (the actual word for “shrimp” in Italian is gambero or gamberetto, plural gamberi or gamberetti). The term “Scampi”, by itself, is also the name of a dish of shrimp served in garlic butter and dry white wine, served either with bread, or over pasta or rice. The word “scampi” is often construed as that style of preparation rather than an ingredient, with that preparation being called “shrimp scampi”, and with variants such as “chicken scampi”.