Old English polente, "a kind of barley meal," from Latin pollenta, polenta, literally "peeled barley," related to pollen "powder, fine flour" (see pollen), but the ultimate origin is uncertain. English later reborrowed it 19c. from Italian polenta (from the Latin word) for "porridge made of corn (maize)," a principal food in northern Italy, originally made from chestnut meal.
1714, as an adverb, "out of the ordinary," from French hors d'oeuvre, "outside the ordinary courses (of a meal)," literally "apart from the main work," from hors, variant of fors "outside" (from Latin foris; see foreign) + de "from" + oeuvre "work," from Latin opera (from PIE root *op- "to work, produce in abundance"). Meaning "extra dish set out before a meal or between courses" attested in English from 1742.
also pre-prandial, "before a meal," 1822, in a letter from Lamb to Coleridge, from pre- "before" + Latin prandium "luncheon" (see postprandial).
"most important piece or feature," 1831, from French pièce de résistance, originally "the most substantial dish in a meal." Literally "piece of resistance;" there seems to be disagreement as to the exact signification.
1837, "detailed list of dishes to be served at a banquet or meal," from French menu de repas "list of what is served at a meal," from French menu (adj.) "small, detailed" (11c.), from Latin minutus "small," literally "made smaller," past participle of minuere "to diminish," from root of minus "to diminish" (from PIE root *mei- (2) "small"). Computer sense of "list of options displayed on a screen" is by 1967, from the expanded sense of "any detailed list," which is attested by 1889.
"dining room," usually with reference to the room in which the Last Supper was held, c. 1400, from Old French cenacle, learned variant of cenaille (14c., Modern French cénacle), from Latin cenaculum "dining room," from cena "mid-day meal, afternoon meal," literally "portion of food" (from PIE *kert-sna-, from root *sker- (1) "to cut"). Latin cenaculum was used in the Vulgate for the "upper room" where the Last Supper was eaten. Related: Cenatical; cenation.
"action of feeding," 1570s, from feed (v.). Meaning "food for animals" is first attested 1580s. Meaning "a sumptuous meal" is from 1808. Of machinery, "action of or system for providing raw material" from 1892.
"kind of porridge; meal boiled in water or milk until it forms a thick, soft mass," 1670s, in the American colonies, a variant of mash (n.) "soft mixture." Meaning "anything soft and thick" is attested from 1824.
"department of medicine which relates to the regulation of diet," 1854, from sito- used as a modern scientific word-forming element to mean "food," from Greek sitos "wheat, corn, meal; food," which is of unknown origin, + -logy.