1. A small brownish bunting (Emberiza hortulana) of Eurasia and Africa, eaten as a delicacy.
2. Any of several American birds, such as the bobolink and the sora.
[French, from Provençal, gardener, ortolan, from Latin hortulānus, from hortulus, diminutive of hortus, garden; see gher-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.