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[ap-i-tahy-zer] /ˈæp ɪˌtaɪ zər/
a small portion of a food or drink served before or at the beginning of a meal to stimulate the desire to eat.
any small portion that stimulates a desire for more or that indicates more is to follow:
The first game was an appetizer to a great football season.
1860-65; appetiz(ing) + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for appetizers
  • If you want something meatier, stop complaining about the appetizers and step up to the buffet.
  • Besides from beer, only a few appetizers were ordered over the course of a few hours.
  • When everyone orders bottles of wine and appetizers and then decides to split the bill evenly, my heart sinks.
  • Yet, once you're on the ground and hungry, you may find those experiences mere appetizers to the main event: food.
  • Delicately fried oysters and buttery rare tuna are the highlights of a short but impressive list of appetizers.
  • Others may leap right to the dessert, and skip the appetizers.
  • Once inside, the auction that is the heart of the evening took over before the appetizers were served.
  • The excellent appetizers and desserts, though, guarantee that the meal begins and ends exactly where you want it.
  • The appetizers and sandwiches are good, the entrées not.
  • Many of the marinated vegetables, salads, and other appetizers are made up in the kitchen for immediate serving.
British Dictionary definitions for appetizers


a small amount of food or drink taken to stimulate the appetite
any stimulating foretaste
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for appetizers



"something taken to whet the appetite," 1820, agent noun from appetize.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for appetizers


food eaten to pique the appetite or to moderate the hunger stimulated by drink. Cocktails, especially aperitifs, the characteristic "dryness" of which allegedly stimulates the appetite, are customarily served with appetizers. Hors d'oeuvres, small portions of savoury foods, often highly seasoned, and canapes, small pieces of bread, crackers, or croutons with various toppings, are the classic appetizer categories

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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