from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small scrap or leaving of food after a meal is completed. Often used in the plural.
  • n. A scrap; a bit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fragment; a scrap of leftover food; any remainder; a piece of refuse.
  • v. To turn away from with disgust; refuse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A morsel left at a meal; a fragment; refuse; -- commonly used in the plural.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To turn away from with disgust; refuse.
  • n. A fragment; a scrap; a piece of refuse: usually in the plural.
  • n. A money of account in Germany, Norway, Denmark, Riga, etc.
  • n. A Danish unit of weight, the thousandth part of the pund or pound.
  • n. A vector of unit length.


Middle English orte, food left by animals, probably from Middle Dutch : oor, out; see ud- in Indo-European roots + eten, to eat; see ed- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English ort, from Old English *orǣt ("that which is left after eating", literally "out-eat"), equivalent to or- +‎ eat. Cognate with Middle Low German orte ("refuse of food"), Middle Dutch ooraete, ooreete, Low German ort ("ort"). (Wiktionary)



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  • My use of ort (Sing.) refers to a bit of food lodged between the teeth, dislodged and spit out. That certainly meets the definition: " A fragment of food left over from a meal:".

    July 2, 2011

  • You bet.

    October 14, 2008

  • I have it as orts. But thanks for thinking of me!

    October 14, 2008

  • Also see urt.

    Mollusque, would this be appropriate for your "Lees" list?

    October 13, 2008

  • A fragment of food left over from a meal; fodder left by cattle; a refuse scrap; leavings. Usu. in pl. Also fig.: a fragment, esp. of wisdom, wit, knowledge, etc. (OED online)

    February 5, 2007