Word of the Day



1. something to eat or drink during an event such as a meeting or party
2. the state of feeling more lively and comfortable, especially after eating or drinking something

Origin and usage

The word refreshment derives from the Late Middle English ‘refresshement’, which refers to a state of comfort and renewed liveliness. This developed from the Old French word ‘refreschement’, from the verb ‘refreschier’, meaning ‘to refresh’.


Refreshment can be used to refer to the food or drink a person consumes to renew their energy, or it can refer to the sense of well-being and satisfaction that comes after a person eats, drinks or rests. In the former case it is used in the plural.

Although it is fairly formal, if someone says that they are ‘taking refreshment’, they could be having something to eat or they could be relaxing. In both cases, the feeling of contentment that comes from rest and revitalization is essential to refreshment.

The kind of contentment and renewed vigour that a person feels from having enjoyed refreshments can also be applied to experiences which help someone to feel mentally refreshed. For example, people speak of feeling refreshed when they return from a holiday because the change of pace from everyday life often has a rejuvenating effect.

Liquid refreshment is a term which refers specifically to drinks. Foods provided as refreshments at parties or meetings are usually easy to eat and cause minimal mess, such as sandwiches, pastries, small fruits or vegetables, or other snacks of this nature.


“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.”

(Jane Austen)

“True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”

(William Penn)


drink, beverage, sustenance, renewal

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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