13

At receptions, small pieces of food are often served, that can be eaten "on the thumb" even when holding a cup of champagne in the other hand.

What to call this kind of food in English?

I was convinced this could be called "thumb food", but Google proves me wrong.

enter image description here

  • 2
    In the UK and often in slightly less formal situations these are called 'Nibbles'. (A nibble is a tiny bite). – Tristan Warner-Smith Jun 17 '14 at 13:33
  • @Tristan: In even less formal situations, they might be called snacky-poos by the "twee" middle class, or munchies by the sugar/fat-obsessed proles. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 17 '14 at 15:20
  • In my circle, we just call them "bites" to mean "finger food" served at cocktails or parties – user76946 Jun 18 '18 at 15:57
29

Finger food comes to mind. You were close with your thumb!

They are also conventionally called appetizers or hors d'oeuvres, even though according to the strict definitions appetizers or hors d'oeuvres precede proper meals, whereas at cocktail parties, an actual meal does not normally follow.

  • 2
    "Finger food" answers the question but is a little informal. – David Richerby Jun 17 '14 at 17:42
  • 4
    Strict definitions aside, an appetizer is widely understood to precede a meal, which doesn't apply to hors d'oeuvres. – Kaz Jun 17 '14 at 19:32
  • Growing up in California and living in Massachusetts, either "finger food" or "hors d'oeuvres" would be understood to indicate the OP's picture. "Appetizers" are generally understood to mean the light food before a meal (though in the context of a banquet where the snacks in OP's picture do actually precede a meal, I suppose "appetizers" would be appropriate) – Doktor J Mar 9 '17 at 23:44
  • "Hors d'oeuvre" is a French term pronounced "or DURVE", more or less – Shawn V. Wilson Jun 26 '18 at 16:01
15

The term canapé is often used.

Technically, a canapé is just one kind of hors d'oeuvre – specifically, the kind with a small piece of bread or toast, or something similar, as a base – but the term has, in the UK at least, come to be used for all such foods.

  • 2
    It is particularly common in England to refer to any small pre-meal food such as this as a "canapé". I seldom hear the term "hors d'oeuvres". – Alastair Maw Jun 17 '14 at 19:16
  • 1
    @AlastairMaw The situation is the reverse in the US, in my experience. I'd never heard of canapé till five minutes ago. – user6951 Jun 18 '14 at 1:35
  • 1
    @CarSmack Yeah, but then you guys call main courses entrées and are therefore deeply confused about this stuff. ;-) – Alastair Maw Jun 18 '14 at 13:10
5

Such food is often referred to as hors d'oeuvres. Literally, "outside of the main work."

  • Because hors d'oeuvres is a French phrase, the pronunciation of the phrase does not follow English's normal phonetic rules. The pronunciation is close to "or derves", and more-or-less rhymes with "for serves". – Jasper Aug 13 '17 at 23:37

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