One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small Eurasian songbird that was formerly eaten as a delicacy, the male having an olive-green head and yellow throat.
Emberiza hortulana, family Emberizidae (subfamily Emberizinae)
- ‘Dali was quite impressed, though he said he himself only ate ‘food with faces’ which meant fish and ortolans.’
- ‘We used our data to test whether long-distance movements in the ortolan bunting occurred before males became territorial (natal dispersal) or during adult life (breeding dispersal).’
- ‘After their heads have been cut or bitten off, ortolans are eaten whole (bones and all) from underneath a napkin - to hide the shame of such cruelty and gluttony from the sight of God.’
- ‘Like Otto's thin-crusted, griddle-cooked pizza, possibly the most controversial foodstuff to hit Gotham since Le Cirque's ortolans.’
- ‘The ortolan was so prized as a delicacy that it was almost hunted into extinction.’
Early 16th century: from French, from Provençal, literally ‘gardener’, based on a diminutive of Latin hortus ‘garden’.
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