À la carte

In restaurants, à la carte /ɑːləˈkɑːrt/[1] is the practice of ordering individual dishes from a menu in a restaurant, as opposed to table d'hôte, where a set menu is offered.[2] It is an early 19th century loan from French meaning "according to the menu".[3][4]

The individual dishes to be ordered may include side dishes, or the side dishes may be offered separately, in which case, they are also considered à la carte.

History

The earliest examples of à la carte are from 1816 for the adjectival use ("à la carte meal", for example) and from 1821 for the adverbial use ("meals were served à la carte").[3] These pre-date the use of the word menu, which came into English in the 1830s.[5][6][3]

Other uses

More broadly, the term is not exclusive to food. Today, it can be used in reference to things such as television. To watch television à la carte refers to paying for a provider where the viewer can choose from an option of programs to watch (e.g., Netflix or Hulu), instead of watching from set programs.[7]

See also

References

  1. "A la carte". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. "Online Etymology Dictionary". etymonline.com. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 Oxford English Dictionary
  4. "à la carte – definition of à la carte in English from the Oxford dictionary". oxforddictionaries.com. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  5. Richard Bailey, Eating Words, Michigan Today, 13 May 2008. Archived 25 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. "Menu", The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition, Houghton Mifflin
  7. "A-la-Carte Cable TV Is Basically Here (It's Just Not on Cable)". The Simple Dollar. Retrieved 2 May 2016.

Bibliography

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