Breaking out sandwiches

Hyeonjeong

Senior Member
Korean
Having missed breakfast we turned eagerly to lunch, breaking out peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and cookies.

There are two phrases I don't understand clearly.

(1) Does the phrase breaking out mean taking out and ate?

(2) What does the phrase turned to lunch mean? Does it mean we ran to the cafeteria, we started our lunch time or we took out the lunch box? Could you help me clarify it? Thanks.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    In this case it appears to be a packed lunch they turned to. 'Breaking out' means unwrapping or opening (the container that holds whatever it is). To mention 'peanut butter sandwiches' suggests they had already been made; otherwise they might have said 'let's break out the peanut butter and make sandwiches'.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    (1) Does the phrase breaking out mean taking out and ate?
    Specifically, just 'taking out'. It would be odd if they did not then eat them, though.
    (2) What does the phrase turned to lunch mean? Does it mean we ran to the cafeteria, we started our lunch time or we took out the lunch box? Could you help me clarify it? Thanks.
    It doesn't mean running anywhere; there is no movement involved. It isn't necessarily lunch time; they missed breakfast, so they might be eating lunch at 11 o'clock. All it means is that they turned their attention to lunch, getting out the sandwiches and so on. Getting ready to eat lunch (and then eating it) is what they then did, and they did it eagerly because they were hungry, having missed breakfast.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The most common use of "break out", in my experience, is as in "Let's break out the champagne!" in celebration of something. Their "breaking out" peanut butter sandwiches and apples sounds to me like an attempt at humour.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Hum...we in the velisarius household aren't in the habit of breaking/cracking open bottles of bubbly very often, and when we do we don't use those exact words, but I've seen this expression before.

    I give just one recent example found online:
    https://groupthink.kinja.com/can-we-break-open-the-champagne-plus-advice-sought-17938
    The context is that the writer thinks they have cause to celebrate: I am 1 point away from a perfect score. So, unless every other person who applied got a score of 10, then my postdoc is likely funded (for three whole years!).
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Break out - Idioms by The Free Dictionary

    7. verb To present something for use, especially something that had been stored out of sight or concealed. Break out the champagne—we've got an engagement to celebrate!

    3. Prepare something for consumption, action, or use, as in Let's break out the champagne, or It's such a fine day-let's break out the fishing rods. [Early 1800s]
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    In my family we might break out the biscuits or chocolates; it definitely has a positive connotation (but not necessarily celebratory) and does not strike me as particularly odd in the OP, though it isn't that common an expression, as others have said.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Personally, I am not very familiar with this use of breaking out in any context. Nobody I know says it!
    It's foreign to me too.

    The title reminded me of the Indian family who made some sandwiches for a pilgrim going to Afghanistan. When he saw them, the pilgrim said: I will not take sandwiches of distrust with me to Afghanistan.

    I don't think he'd have wished to take breaking-out sandwiches with him either.
     
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