• WordNet 3.6
    • n ortolan brownish Old World bunting often eaten as a delicacy
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Ortolan (Zoöl) A European singing bird (Emberiza hortulana), about the size of the lark, with black wings. It is esteemed delicious food when fattened. Called also bunting.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n ortolan A gardener.
    • n ortolan The garden-bunting, Emberiza hortulana, a small granivorous conirostral bird of the family Fringillidæ, inhabiting parts of Europe and Africa, highly esteemed as a table delicacy. It is a true bunting, closely related to the reed-bunting, the cirl, the yellowhammer, and the corn-bunting. The male is about 6½ inches long, with flesh-colored bill and feet, brown eyes, the head and neck greenish-gray and spotted with dusky, the throat, orbits, and maxillary streak yellowish, the upper parts reddish-gray with blackish spots. The birds are in such demand by epicures that great numbers are caught alive and fattened in confinement for the table, being fed with grain in darkened rooms.
    • n ortolan Some small bird like or likened to or mistaken for the ortolan. The bobolink, reed-bird, or rice-bird of the United States, Dolichonyx oryzivorus, belonging to the family Icteridæ: so called in the fall, when both sexes are of a yellowish color and not distantly resemble the true ortolan, being of about the same size, very fat and delicate in flesh, and in great repute for the table: reed-bird, however, is the usual name at this season in most parts of the United States. See cut under bobolink.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Ortolan or′tō-lan a kind of bunting, common in Europe, and considered a great table delicacy.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., fr. It. ortolano, ortolan, gardener, fr. L. hortulanus, gardener, fr. hortulus, dim. of hortus, garden. So called because it frequents the hedges of gardens. See Yard an inclosure, and cf. Hortulan
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—It. ortolano—L. hortulanus, belonging to gardens—hortulus, dim. of hortus, a garden.


In literature:

RAGUENEAU (throwing down the carriage cushions): The cushions are stuffed with ortolans!
"Cyrano de Bergerac" by Edmond Rostand
The ortolans are kept in cages, and crammed, until they die of fat, then eaten as dainties.
"Travels Through France and Italy" by Tobias Smollett
Bring supper, I say, and let me have a pasty of ortolans.
"The Little Duke Richard the Fearless" by Charlotte M. Yonge
In her present frame of mind Marie would have cooked ortolans for him had he wished for them.
"The Golden Lion of Granpere" by Anthony Trollope
Some persons like slices of bacon tied between them, but the taste of it spoils the flavour of the ortolan.
"The Cook and Housekeeper's Complete and Universal Dictionary; Including a System of Modern Cookery, in all Its Various Branches," by Mary Eaton
These are the "Rail-birds" or "Ortolans" which are annually slaughtered by thousands, for sport and marketing, during their fall migration.
"The Bird Book" by Chester A. Reed
It was a thousand pities that any one should be hungry; but, for himself, he liked truffles, ortolans, and all good things.
"Marion Fay" by Anthony Trollope
Help me to that ortolan there, and pass the bottle.
"Tom Burke Of "Ours", Volume I (of II)" by Charles James Lever
Ortolans a la Perigourdine.
"Dressed Game and Poultry à la Mode" by Harriet A. de Salis
What does our friend ORTOLAN say on this subject?
"Punch - Volume 25 (Jul-Dec 1853)" by Various