[tawr-tee-uh; Spanish tawr-tee-yah]
noun, plural tortillas [tawr-tee-uhz; Spanish tawr-tee-yahs] . Mexican Cookery.
a thin, round, unleavened bread prepared from cornmeal or sometimes wheat flour, baked on a flat plate of iron, earthenware, or the like.

1690–1700; < Spanish, equivalent to tort(a) cake (see torte) + -illa diminutive suffix < Latin -ella Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tortilla (tɔːˈtiːə)
Mexican cookery a kind of thin pancake made from corn meal and cooked on a hot griddle until dry
[C17: from Spanish: a little cake, from torta a round cake, from Late Latin; see torte]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1699, from Amer.Sp. tortilla, from Sp., "a tart," lit. "a little cake," dim. of torta "cake," from L.L. torta "flat cake" (see torte).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
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
Flip the tortilla off of the plastic onto a hot griddle.
Image for tortilla
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