Word of the Day


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lunch, especially a formal lunch for a lot of people

Origin and usage

The specific origin of the word luncheon is unknown, but it likely comes from the 14th century Middle English word ‘nonechenche’ meaning ‘light midday meal’. Luncheon was first recorded in English around 1570, though it didn’t reach the form of its modern spelling until 1706.


Luncheon is a word that refers to a formal event held at midday for a large group of people where a meal is served.

According to tradition, a luncheon is any formal meal served between noon and 2pm. The meal served at a luncheon is typically rather simple and includes sandwiches, salads, soups, fresh fruit and cut vegetables and sweets or baked goods. Tea, coffee, water, lemonade, iced tea or other light drinks are commonly served at a luncheon.

Sometimes, a luncheon can be more casual, with a self-serve buffet or hearty appetizers instead of a sit-down meal. Guests serve themselves, choosing only the foods they like to eat from an array of offerings.

Many charity organizations and civic groups hold luncheon events to raise funds or to honour important people. At these events people usually give speeches, and awards are sometimes handed out to guests as they sit at tables, eating their meal.

A luncheon can also be a smaller, more intimate event between friends or family. Baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, funerals and other important occasions can be marked with a luncheon reception.


“It is better for me to serve a charity as an actor or a voice, rather than at a luncheon being just a celebrity.”
(Ben Kingsley)

“The harmony of the luncheon is achieved by a combination of the two main courses which are the focus of the menu.”
(Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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