or·​to·​lan ˈȯr-tə-lən How to pronounce ortolan (audio)
: an Old World bunting (Emberiza hortulana) having a greenish-gray head and breast, streaky brown back and wings, and a yellow throat

Examples of ortolan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One of the greatest delicacies in France is the ortolan, a tiny songbird whose dwindling numbers caused the government to forbid its sale. Jenny Gross, New York Times, 2 May 2023 Anna and Steve hide their shame under a blanket, ortolan-style. Bethy Squires, Vulture, 14 Dec. 2021 Wags and Axe drown their sorrows by throwing napkins over their heads and eating ortolans prepared by Wylie Dufresne. refinery29.com, 30 Apr. 2018 Four species were in the worst trouble: the ortolan bunting, the ruff, the golden oriole and the greenfinch. James Gorman, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ortolan.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French or Italian; French, from Italian ortolano, literally, gardener, from Latin hortulanus, from hortulus, diminutive of hortus garden — more at yard

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ortolan was in 1656

Dictionary Entries Near ortolan

Cite this Entry

“Ortolan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ortolan. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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