An hors-d’oeuvre (; , literally “apart from the [main] work”) or the first course, is a food item served before the main courses of a meal, typically smaller than main dishes, and often meant to be eaten by hand (with minimal use of cutlery). The French spelling is the same for singular and plural usage, hors-d’œuvre; in English, the ligature is usually replaced by the digraph with the plural commonly written hors d’oeuvres and pronounced .