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Definition of "ortolan" [or•to•lan]

  • A small brownish Old World bunting (Emberiza hortulana) eaten as a delicacy. (noun)
  • Any of several New World birds, such as the bobolink and the sora. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "ortolan" in a sentence
  • "There is a small bird called the ortolan, which is highly esteemed by the Italian gourmands."
  • "Consider late French President François Mitterrand, who enjoyed a very special delicacy: a small songbird called the ortolan, drowned in Armagnac, then flambéed and eaten whole."
  • "One was a kind of thrush, the other a small dove called the ortolan, and esteemed a very great delicacy on account of its exquisite flavour."