In "The Bird with a Broken Wing," part of Agatha Christie's story collection, The Mysterious Mr Quin, Inspector Winkfield tells Mr Satterthwaite:

Must find out what terms they were on. That’s where you can be useful to us, Mr Satterthwaite. You’ve the ongtray here, and you can get the hang of things in a way we can’t. Find out what relations there were between the two.

What does "ongtray" mean? Searches on Google mostly yield the same quoted text, with people complaining that searching didn't yield anything useful.

1 Answer 1


I believe it means "entrée" but I am not entirely sure why Agatha Christie wrote ongtray instead. Checking the meaning of "entrée":

  1. The main course of a meal.
    1.1 British A dish served between the first and main courses at a formal dinner.

  2. The right to enter or join a particular sphere or group.

- Lexico

(2) fits the context.

Additionally, Google gives some other results for "ongtray" which match "entrée":

I suppose the use of "ongtray" here perhaps indicates some over-enunciation from the good Inspector.

  • 6
    This is similar to eye dialect, except it's more mispronunciation than dialect. Without knowing anything about this character, I'd guess this might indicate he's not very "cultured" (e.g. doesn't speak French well), but possibly likes to pretend to be (by dropping French words anyway). Cf. “Parlay voo Frongsay?” in The Railway Children (in that context, spoken by a child, so not the same sort of cultural indications).
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 19, 2019 at 16:04
  • 3
    Le franglais est un doddle, except for those who don't remember that French was the language of international communication and diplomacy in the 19th and early 20th century ;-)
    – Tsundoku
    Nov 19, 2019 at 16:26
  • More on eye dialect here.
    – Jos
    Nov 20, 2019 at 0:04
  • 2
    In the Keneally, it esems to be for Entrez!, not for entrée.
    – Rosie F
    Sep 10, 2020 at 20:11

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