[tawr-tl-ee-nee; Italian tawr-tel-lee-nee]

plural noun Italian Cookery.

small rounds of pasta, filled, as with a meat or cheese stuffing, and then shaped into rings and boiled: often served in broth or with a sauce.

Origin of tortellini

1905–10; < Italian, plural of tortellino, diminutive of tortello stuffed pastry, diminutive (with gender change) of torta cake; see torte

Usage note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tortellini

Contemporary Examples of tortellini

  • The city and its environs are where lasagna, tortellini, and Bolognese sauce—not to mention bologna—originated.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Italy Plans a Disneyland for Foodies

    Barbie Latza Nadeau

    March 16, 2014

  • The food is Italian—risotto, tortellini, salad—in a nod to a mystifying (to me) sequence in the film.

    The Daily Beast logo
    New Moon Rises Over Hollywood

    Kim Masters

    November 17, 2009

British Dictionary definitions for tortellini



pasta cut into small rounds, folded about a filling, and boiled

Word Origin for tortellini

from Italian, diminutive of tortelli a type of pie, ultimately from Late Latin tōrta a round loaf or cake; see torte
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

Word Origin and History for tortellini

1937, from Italian, plural of tortellino, diminutive of tortello "cake, fritter," itself a diminutive of torta (see torte).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper