Hors d’oeuvre (plural hors d’oeuvres)
This is a French culinary term that literally means ‘outside or apart from the main work’. In other words, a food dish that is apart from the main course. Therefore, it has come to mean the same thing as a ‘starter’ or light first course. The expression entered the English language during the early 18th century and has now acquired international status and meaning. From the mid-18th century, it was also being used figuratively to describe any sort of start or precursor, outside of a food context. Sometimes commonly pronounced as ‘horse’s doovers’ - one hopes in jocularity.