hors d'oeuvre

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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from French hors-d'œuvre.



hors d'oeuvre (plural hors d'oeuvres)

  1. (food) A small, light, and usually savory first course in a meal.
  2. (by extension) Anything of secondary concern; not the primary thing.
  3. (dated, rare) Something unusual or extraordinary.


  • 1920, G. K. Chesterton, The New Jerusalem, Ch. XIII
    It seems quaintest of all when, at some Jewish luncheon parties, a tray of hats is actually handed round, and each guest helps himself to a hat as a sort of hors d'oeuvre.
  • 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald, chapter III, in The Great Gatsby, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner's Sons, OCLC 884653065; republished New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953, →ISBN:
    On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold.




The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See also[edit]



Literally, "apart from the work", in other words, "apart from the main meal"


hors d'oeuvre m (plural hors d'oeuvre)

  1. Nonstandard spelling of hors d'œuvre.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The œ ligature is often replaced in contemporary French with oe (the œ character does not appear on AZERTY keyboards), but this is nonstandard.