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hors d'oeuvre

[awr durv; French awr dœ-vruh] /ɔr ˈdɜrv; French ɔr ˈdœ vrə/
noun, plural hors d'oeuvre, hors d'oeuvres
[awr durvz; French awr dœ-vruh] /ɔr ˈdɜrvz; French ɔr ˈdœ vrə/ (Show IPA)
a small bit of appetizing food, as spicy meat, fish, cheese, or a preparation of chopped or creamed foods, often served on crackers or small pieces of toast, for eating at cocktail parties or other gatherings where drinks are served with no other food.
an appetizer, as a relish or more elaborate preparation, served before or as the first course of a meal.
Origin of hors d'oeuvre
1705-15; < French: outside of the main course Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hors d'oeuvres
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A God was a God, after all, and Kathy was only the hors d'oeuvres of a seven-course dinner.

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • This time Pheola didn't have the same greedy grab for the hors d'oeuvres.

    Vigorish Gordon Randall Garrett
  • And so on with the entremets, and hors d'oeuvres, and the rotis, and the releves.

    A Little Dinner at Timmins's William Makepeace Thackeray
  • There are thirty illustrations of sandwiches and hors d'oeuvres.

  • Louise paused for a moment in the act of helping herself to hors d'oeuvres.

    The Hillman E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • There was a tradition in the club that the hors d'oeuvres should be various and manifold to the point of madness.

  • At the gambling tables everything was free—the liquor, the hors d'oeuvres, the entertainment.

    Vigorish Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Supplemented with chapters on hors d'oeuvres, supremes, canapes and relishes.

British Dictionary definitions for hors d'oeuvres

hors d'oeuvre

/ɔː ˈdɜːvr; French ɔr dœvrə/
noun (pl) hors d'oeuvre, hors d'oeuvres (ˈdɜːvr; French) (dœvrə)
an additional dish served as an appetizer, usually before the main meal
Word Origin
C18: from French, literally: outside the work, not part of the main course
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hors d'oeuvres

hors d'oeuvre

1714, as an adverb, "out of the ordinary," from French hors d'oeuvre, "outside the ordinary courses (of a meal)," literally "apart from the main work," from hors, variant of fors "outside" (from Latin foris; see foreign) + de "from" + oeuvre "work," from Latin opera, (see opus). Meaning "extra dish set out before a meal or between courses" attested in English from 1742.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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