The disappearance in the early 20th century of a large communal main course such as a roast as a standard part of the meal in the English-speaking world has led to the term being used to describe the main course itself in some areas. This usage is largely confined to North America and it is unusual in most English speaking countries, however this use is given by some British dictionaries but not others.
The term entrée is rarely used for an hors d'oeuvre, also called a first course, appetizer, or starter. In France, however, the term "entrée", a French word which means an entrance or beginning, always describes a first course not the main course.
In 1970, Richard Olney, an American living in Paris, gave the place of the entrée in a French full menu: "A dinner that begins with a soup and runs through a fish course, an entrée, a sherbet, a roast, salad, cheese and dessert, and that may be accompanied by from three to six wines, presents a special problem of orchestration". In 1967 Julia Child and her co-authors outlined the character of such entrées, which – when they did not precede a roast – might serve as the main course of a luncheon, in a chapter of "Entrées and Luncheon Dishes" that included quiches, tarts and gratins, soufflés and timbales, gnocchi, quenelles and crêpes.
|In some areas, a salad such as this may be presented as an entrée.|
|In the United States and parts of Canada, the main course is called the entree|