• synonyms


[tawr-tl-ee-nee; Italian tawr-tel-lee-nee]
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plural noun Italian Cookery.
  1. 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.
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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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tortellini


  1. pasta cut into small rounds, folded about a filling, and boiled
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Word Origin

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper