Definition of ortolan in English:



(also ortolanbunting)
  • A small Eurasian songbird that was formerly eaten as a delicacy, the male having an olive-green head and yellow throat.

    Emberizahortulana, family Emberizidae (subfamily Emberizinae)

    ‘The ortolan was so prized as a delicacy that it was almost hunted into extinction.’
    • ‘Dali was quite impressed, though he said he himself only ate ‘food with faces’ which meant fish and ortolans.’
    • ‘Like Otto's thin-crusted, griddle-cooked pizza, possibly the most controversial foodstuff to hit Gotham since Le Cirque's ortolans.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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).’



/ˈôrdəl(ə)n/ /ˈɔrdəl(ə)n/


Early 16th century from French, from Provençal, literally ‘gardener’, based on a diminutive of Latin hortus ‘garden’.