Why do Americans call the main course the entree?

My wife asked me and I don’t know the answer. I can’t find a clear answer online.

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We think it sounds more classy (justifies high prices on premium mediocre menu items), which is probably proof that we have no class whatsoever.


It shows they don’t understand French.



Doesnt entree mean the food before the main course? Hope i havent been using it wrong all these years haha.

In that case, you get the noodles. :rofl:



Dang, ya got me. But, is that the main or the entree?

That’s the appetizer, also known as the starter.

I had always thought entree was somewhere in between the 2 or perhaps a better version of appetizer (eg. not french fries)

An entree is the same as an appetizer and starter. A dish before the main course.

What of elevensies?

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We were watching Masterchef USA and they were consistently calling the main course the entrée. I’ve searched online and can’t find a reason, other than the main course was served with a fanfare of trumpets in the distance past making it an entrance. This seems highly improbable to me.

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So entree is in fact pre main course then right?

If its only the USA that confuses the term then we can all just carry on and put it in the same bin with their measurement system :slight_smile:



Not if you’re speaking modern English.

Damn that sucks. I grew up using it as pre main. all our family and friends tended to as well. I cant actually remember what restaraunts back home would say though.

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I use main course and entree interchangeably. I’m not an expert in English but speak American English.

It’s called the entrée because it’s before the most important dish, the dessert.


Entrée in French is the pre-main course meal, what the British call a “starter.” Could be a salad, toasts with foie gras, some salty verrine… In the US though, it’s used commonly to describe the main course, cause it’s more classy than “main course” and less of a mouthful than “plat principal.”

The culinary sense of entrée can be traced back to 18th-century Britain. In those days a formal dinner could include not only the principal courses of soup, fish, meat, and dessert, but also an impressive array of side dishes. Between the fish and meat courses would come a small side dish, and because this secondary dish came immediately before the centerpiece of the meal, it was called the entrée, being, in effect, the entrance to the really important part of the meal. As dining habits have changed, meals have become simpler, and fewer courses are served. However, in the US, the course following the appetizer continued to be called the entrée, perhaps because it is a French word, and anything French always sounds elegant.

BRE-starter, followed by main course.
AmE- appetizer, followed by entree.

AmE seems to go for the more complex word- lift: elevator; flat: apartment; rubber (ha ha): eraser.