Starters are a side dish and a small portion of food items. They are meant to accompany the main dish. Main courses are usually accompanied by one or more starters. Served hot or cold, starters are dishes that are served before the main course of a meal. They are known to stimulate appetite, without being too rich. As part of a formal dinner, they may be preceded by soup and hors d'oeuvres.
Finger food is another term that is generally used for an appetizer or starter. Finger foods are the foods that are meant to be eaten with the fingers rather than using the cutlery. Usually, they are served at the beginning of a meal, hence synonymous with starters.
Dinner party starters
Outside North America, it is generally synonymous with the terms hors d'oeuvre, appetizer, or starter. It may be the first dish served, or it may follow a soup or other small dish or dishes. In the United States and parts of Canada, the term entrée refers to the main dish or the only dish of a meal.
There is no real difference between appetizers and starters. An appetizer is basically the first dish served in a full course meal. In British English, appetizers are called starters. Simply put, an appetizer is a mini version of a dish served before the main meal.
The primo: In Italy, pasta is a first course, or primo, served as an appetizer, not as the main event. Soup, rice, and polenta are the other options for the primo. The secondo: The main course is called il secondo, or the second course. Chicken, meat, or fish are the usual choices, and portions are generally small.
A 7 course meal: A 7 course dinner menu includes an hors d'oeuvre, soup, appetizer, salad, main course, dessert, and mignardise
In the U.S., 'appetizers', referring to anything served before a meal, is the most common term for hors d'oeuvres. Light snacks served outside of the context of a meal are called hors d'oeuvres (with the English-language pluralization).
Aperitif is a drink before a meal. Starter is the first real course, smaller than the main course that should follow (confusingly called entree in the US).
Classification of Appetizers
Hors d' oeuvres.
Soup & Consommé
Chips & DIps.