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tortilla

[tawr-tee-uh; Spanish tawr-tee-yah] /tɔrˈti ə; Spanish tɔrˈti yɑ/
noun, plural tortillas
[tawr-tee-uh z; Spanish tawr-tee-yahs] /tɔrˈti əz; Spanish tɔrˈti yɑs/ (Show IPA).
Mexican Cookery.
1.
a thin, round, unleavened bread prepared from cornmeal or sometimes wheat flour, baked on a flat plate of iron, earthenware, or the like.
Origin
1690-1700
1690-1700; < Spanish, equivalent to tort(a) cake (see torte) + -illa diminutive suffix < Latin -ella
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for tortilla
  • Spread half of the tortilla chips in one even layer on a large oval ovenproof platter or in a large baking dish.
  • Arrange crisp-fried corn tortilla rounds on a baking sheet.
  • The critical tortilla properties of diameter, opacity and shelf-stability were evaluated.
  • Flip the tortilla off of the plastic onto a hot griddle.
  • Start with a heavy layer of tortilla chips, beans and sausage saving enough for a second layer.
  • Sprinkle each tortilla with the chopped red onion and tomatoes.
  • Cover the tortilla with the peanut butter to the edges.
British Dictionary definitions for tortilla

tortilla

/tɔːˈtiːə/
noun
1.
(Mexican cookery) a kind of thin pancake made from corn meal and cooked on a hot griddle until dry
Word Origin
C17: from Spanish: a little cake, from torta a round cake, from Late Latin; see torte
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tortilla
n.

1690s, from American Spanish tortilla, from Spanish, "a tart," literally "a little cake," diminutive of torta "cake," from Late Latin torta "flat cake" (see torte).

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

round, thin, flat bread of Mexico made from unleavened cornmeal or, less commonly, wheat flour. Traditionally the corn (maize) for tortillas was boiled with unslaked lime to soften the kernels and loosen the hulls. (This lime was the principal source of calcium in the Mexican diet.) The grains were ground on a stone saddle quern, or metate. Small pieces of dough were patted by hand into thin disks, a task requiring considerable dexterity. The tortilla was then baked on a comal, a griddle of earthenware or iron. Today most tortillas are purchased at tortillerias, where the dough is mixed by machine, stamped into disks, and passed by conveyer belt over a flame. Tortillas stale quickly and are usually bought fresh daily or even for each meal

Learn more about tortilla with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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