[tawr-tee-uh; Spanish tawr-tee-yah]
noun, plural tor·til·las [tawr-tee-uh z; Spanish tawr-tee-yahs] /tɔrˈti əz; Spanish tɔrˈti yɑs/. Mexican Cookery.
  1. a thin, round, unleavened bread prepared from cornmeal or sometimes wheat flour, baked on a flat plate of iron, earthenware, or the like.

Origin of tortilla

1690–1700; < Spanish, equivalent to tort(a) cake (see torte) + -illa diminutive suffix < Latin -ella Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tortilla

Contemporary Examples of tortilla

Historical Examples of tortilla

  • The tortilla is said to be the most nutritious of all foods prepared from maize.

    On the Mexican Highlands

    William Seymour Edwards

  • A few beans, a tortilla, is all the food they have, and often not even that.

  • If you could not manage with the tortilla, you were excused for using your fingers.

  • They flung him a tortilla or two, and he had plenty of water, but what he wanted most was rest.

    The Texan Star

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • Next to the tortilla it is the staple article of diet of a good many millions of Mexico's inhabitants.


    Charles Reginald Enock

British Dictionary definitions for tortilla


  1. Mexican cookery a kind of thin pancake made from corn meal and cooked on a hot griddle until dry

Word Origin for tortilla

C17: from Spanish: a little cake, from torta a round cake, from Late Latin; 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 tortilla

1690s, from American Spanish tortilla, from Spanish, "a tart," literally "a little cake," diminutive of torta "cake," from Late Latin torta "flat cake" (see torte).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper