hors d'oeuvre

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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowing from French hors-d'œuvre



hors d'oeuvre ‎(plural hors d'oeuvres)

  1. 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.


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  • 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, The Great Gatsby, Chapter III
    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.

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.