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illustration Ort



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Late Middle English


(usually orts) A scrap or remainder of food from a meal.

Examples of Ort in a sentence

"Tammy cleared the dishes from the table and scraped the orts into the dog’s bowl."

"Anna composts most of her orts, rather than putting them in the trash."

About Ort

“Orts” is a variation on the Old English “orǣt.” Many languages have very similar words for food scraps: “oräte” in Swedish, “oret” in Danish, and “orte” in German all mean “leftover animal feed,” while the Dutch “oort” means “leftover food.” The term “orts” is rare in modern English, but was once widespread across England, Ireland, and Scotland. It also had American regional variations beginning in the 19th century, including “orts” and “oughts.”

Did you Know?

“Orts” has nearly always referred to scraps of food left over after a meal, either by people or by animals. But “orts” has whimsical other meanings — one refers to “pieces of wisdom.” By this meaning, a student taking careful notes might be hoping to catch as many orts of her teacher’s knowledge as possible. In another sense referring to needlework, orts are scraps of thread left over after stitching.

illustration Ort

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