ACCORDING to the Lady, to be fashionable nowadays we must "brunch." Truly an excellent portmanteau word, introduced, by the way, last year, by Mr GUY BERINGER, in the now defunct Hunter's Weekly, and indicating a combined breakfast and lunch. At Oxford, however, two years ago, an important distinction was drawn. The combination-meal, when nearer the usual breakfast hour, is "brunch," and, when nearer luncheon, is "blunch." Please don't forget this. [Punch, Aug. 1, 1896]
"mid-day repast, small meal between breakfast and dinner," 1786, a shortened form of luncheon (q.v.) in this sense (1650s), which is of uncertain origin; it appears to be identical with an older word meaning "thick piece, hunk" (1570s), which perhaps evolved from lump (n.) [OED]. There also was a contemporary nuncheon "light mid-day meal," from noon + Middle English schench "drink." Old English had nonmete "afternoon meal," literally "noon-meat" (Middle English non-mete). The verb meaning "to take to lunch" (said to be from the noun) also is attested from 1786:
PRATTLE. I always to be ſure, makes a point to keep up the dignity of the family I lives in. Wou'd you take a more ſolid refreſhment?—Have you lunch'd, Mr. Bribe?
BRIBE. Lunch'd O dear! Permit me, my dear Mrs. Prattle, to refreſh my sponge, upon the honey dew that clings to your raviſhing pouters. O! Mrs. Prattle, this ſhall be my lunch. (kiſſes)
["The Mode," in William Davies' "Plays Written for a Private Theatre," London, 1786]
As late as 1817 the only definition of lunch (n.) in Webster's is "a large piece of food," but this is now obsolete or provincial. OED says in 1820s the word "was regarded either as a vulgarism or as a fashionable affectation." Related: Lunched; lunching.
Lunch money is attested from 1868. Lunch-time is from 1821; lunch hour is from 1840; lunch-break is from 1960. Slang phrase out to lunch "insane, stupid, clueless" first recorded 1955, on notion of being "not there."
mid-12c., non "midday," in exact use, "12 o'clock p.m.," also "midday meal," from Old English non "3 o'clock p.m., the ninth hour from sunrise," also "the canonical hour of nones," from Latin nona hora "ninth hour" of daylight, by Roman and ecclesiastical reckoning about 3 p.m., from nona, fem. singular of nonus "ninth," contracted from *novenos, from novem "nine" (see nine).
The sense shift from "3 p.m." to "12 p.m." began during 12c., and various reasons are given for it, such as unreliability of medieval time-keeping devices and the seasonal elasticity of the hours of daylight in northern regions. In monasteries and on holy days, fasting ended at nones, which perhaps offered another incentive to nudge it up the clock. Or perhaps the sense shift was based on an advance in the customary time of the (secular) midday meal. Whatever the cause, the meaning change from "ninth hour" to "sixth hour" seems to have been complete by 14c. (the same evolution is in Dutch noen).
From 17c. to 19c., noon sometimes also meant "midnight" (the noon of the night).
"patrician form of marriage in ancient Rome," c. 1600, from Latin confarreationem (nominative confarreatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of confarreare "to unite in marriage by the Ceremony of the Cake," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + far, farris "spelt, grain, meal," which is probably from PIE root *bhars- "bristle, point, projection" (see bristle (n.)).
In ancient Rome, the most solemn form of marriage, in which an offering of salted bread (pannis farreus) was made in the presence of the Pontifex Maximus and 10 witnesses. It fell into general disuse early in the Empire.
"to serve food in a dish or dishes," late 14c., from dish (n.). German tischen is "serve the table" and Swedish diska is "to wash dishes."
The modern slang meaning "to disparage, denigrate" is attested by 1940s; probably from the same figurative notion in dish it out "administer punishment" (1934). But dished meant "wasted, spent" in early 15c., presumably "used up as if made a meal of," and the same image was reborn centuries later in slang dish "frustrate, ruin, cheat" (1798), used by Byron, Scott, etc. Related: Dished; dishing.
In American English, corn-based grits and hominy (q.v.) were used interchangeably in Colonial times. Later, hominy meant whole kernels that had been skinned but not ground, but in the U.S. South, hominy meant skinned kernels that could be ground coarsely to make grits. In New Orleans, whole kernels are big hominy and ground kernels little hominy.