meal (n.1) Look up meal at
"food; time for eating," c. 1200 (perhaps late Old English), mel "appointed time for eating," also "a meal, feast," from Old English mæl "fixed time, occasion, a meal," from Proto-Germanic *mæla- (source also of Old Frisian mel "time;" Middle Dutch mael, Dutch maal "time, meal;" Old Norse mal "measure, time, meal;" German Mal "time," Mahl "meal;" Gothic mel "time, hour"), from PIE *me-lo-, from root *me- "to measure" (see meter (n.2)). Original sense of "time" is preserved in piecemeal. Meals-on-wheels attested from 1961. Meal ticket first attested 1870 in literal sense of "ticket of admission to a dining hall;" figurative sense of "source of income or livelihood" is from 1899.
meal (n.2) Look up meal at
"edible ground grain," Old English melu "meal, flour," from Proto-Germanic *melwan "grind" (source also of Old Frisian mele "meal," Old Saxon melo, Middle Dutch mele, Dutch meel, Old High German melo, German Mehl, Old Norse mjöl "meal;" Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic malan "to grind," German mahlen), from PIE root *mel- (1) "soft" (see mild).