Nugget of Knowledge: Hors d’oeuvres of phrases explained

Hors d'oeuvres originate from the world of architecture

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) –  The French phrase hors d’oeuvres means outside the works.

It’s a term from architecture that means a smaller building not connected to the main building. Your garage isn’t attached to your house. It’s an hors d’oeuvres to your house.

French chefs then borrowed the term to when they wanted to refer to appetizers not connected to the main course.

But what about canapes? Aren’t they hors d’oeuvres?

They are a type of hors d’oeuvres.

The word canapes originally was just what it sounded like, a canopy over a couch or bed. Then, it came to mean the bed itself in French and in English morphed into a bread or cracker with a spread on top.

Whether it is singular or plural, it’s always just hors d’oeuvres and canapes.

Jim and Len will be bringing you Daybreak until the cows come home.

Where did that expression come from?

It first appeared in the 16th century when most people were familiar with the cycles of farm life. Cows actually make their way home, at their own sweet, from pasture on their own to be milked. The expression appears in a comedy in 1616 — “kiss ’til the cows come home.”

And, of course, we can’t forget Groucho Marx from the 1933 film “Duck Soup”: “I could dance with you till the cows come home… better still, I’ll dance with the cows, and you come home.”

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