Discussion in 'All Languages' started by amikama, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. amikama

    amikama sordomodo

    Hi there,

    English and Spanish have special names for the main meals of the day:

    English: breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper
    Spanish: desayuno, almuerzo, cena

    On the other hand, Hebrew has no special names for them - they are simply called ארוחת בוקר ("morning meal"), ארוחת צהריים ("noon meal") and ארוחת ערב ("evening meal"). Quite straightforward, isn't it?

    I'd like to know which languages have special names for meals and which don't.

  2. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Dutch :
    - ontbijt (to bite, to put one's teeth into something, maybe taste, seems to be the original meaning, but now reduced to breakfast)
    - middagmaal, lunch (middaymeal)
    - vieruurtje (a little 4 o'clock meal literally (vier-uur-tje), no longer in fashion, I think, because it has been replaced by the evening meal/ dinner, a little bit later in the evening)
    - avondmaal

    The word maal (meal) seems to refer to the time of eating, and is related with our word maal/ 'time' (driemaal, three times). The funny thing is that we mostly add tijd (time), whereas we only mean the meal, not the time. Which shows that maal got associated with eating, and even maaltijd only with eating, not with time (tijd). So there is nothing strange about: 'Tijd voor de maaltijd' (Time for the meal).
  3. Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    breakfast - "завтрак" /zavtrak/
    lunch - "второй завтрак" /vtoroy zavtrak/ (lit. "second breakfast"), also "ланч" /lanch/ :)
    dinner - "обед" /obed/
    afternoon snack - "полдник" /poldnik/
    supper - "ужин" /uzhin/
  4. federicoft Senior Member

    In Italian meals are called colazione (from Latin collatione, meaning 'collection'), pranzo (from Latin prandium, with the same meaning) and cena (from Latin cinam, with the same meaning).

    Usually colazione is the morning meal, pranzo is the midday meal and cena the evening meal. Also, the mid-afternoon snack is called merenda (from the Latin gerundive of merire, meaning 'things that are deserved').
    However, in formal or business settings the midday meal is called colazione and the evening meal is called pranzo (e.g. Pranzo di Stato, State Dinner). In these cases, to avoid ambiguity, the morning meal is called prima colazione.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  5. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I'd say, these usages (both in English and in Russian) are quite outdated. Who eats a second breakfast nowadays? :)

    In modern Russian:
    breakfast - "завтрак" /zavtrak/
    lunch - "обед" /obed/
    dinner/supper - "ужин" /uzhin/

    I don't even remember when I last had an "official" afternoon snack - "полдник" /poldnik/. At kindergarten may be.
  6. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Haha, this turns into a history of civilisation! I think people working on the field got up very early, had some breakfast, worked hard, had some more to eat (I believe this is where the Germans had Imbiß (which also has the bite word), and those were the ones who got hungry halfway the afternoon...
  7. Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    I heard this word in an army hospital, for example, and not only heard. :)
    As for "второй завтрак" - the word at least is definitely not archaic, even if this concept may take no place in life of most modern people (who are lucky if they eat three times a day).

    P.S.: Sorry for offtopic, but that strongly reminds me a Chinese boy from some old book saying "I eat once a day, but I eat everyday". )
  8. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    May be we should specify that poldnik was usually more than a snack, it's a sit-down small meal, like milk and cookies or a small sandwich and tea/cocoa, taken between 3 and 5PM.

    Yes, "archaic" was a bit too strong, I actually changed it to "outdated".
  9. Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    As far as I remember, "второй завтрак" also take place in some hospitals. And while some phenomenon exists, the word with respective meaning can become neither archaic nor outdated. :) It can be replaced with some other word at best (and only then become outdated).
  10. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    Besides those, we also have comida and merienda

    Desayuno it's something light, cereal; OJ, a piece of bread etc

    Almuerzo it's at noon; and it's something heavier like eggs, chicken etc..

    Comida (depends on the country) it's the heaviest of all, soup, salad, meal, and dessert.

    Cena: It's like comida again, or when you didn't have your comida you can arrive to your house to la cena.

    merienda, it's something very light, a pice of bread, milk, or coffe, even a sandwich can be eaten
  11. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek «κολατσιό» (kolatsço, n.) is the snack and it derives from the Byzantine Greek «κολατσίον» (kolatsion, n.). It was named kolatsion probably under the influence of the Venetians or Genuats who lived at Peran. It is also called «δεκατιανό» (ðekatçano, n.), lit. "of the 10th hour".
    Breakfast is «πρωινό» (proino. n.), "of the morning"; in ancient times it was called «ἄριστον» (ariston, n.), "the perfect one".
    Lunch is «γεύμα» (ʝevma, n.), lit. "that which is tasted" (named after the ancient γεῦσις, f.->taste). It's also named «μεσημεριανό» (mesimerʝano, n), "of midday".
    Supper is called «βραδινό» (vraðino, n), "of the evening". Formal or business dinner is called «δείπνο» (ðipno, n., of uncertain etymology). In ancient times, «δεῖπνος» ('ðeipnos, m.) was the main meal of the day. In Hellenistic times it described the supper and later the dinner.
  12. Nizo Senior Member

    In Esperanto, the main meals of the day are referred to as:
    matenmanĝo (morning meal)
    tagmanĝo (day meal)
    vespermanĝo (evening meal)
    Interestingly, the PIV2 (the most authoritative monolingual Esperanto dictionary) also includes:
    lunĉo, which is described as a short, light meal around noon, in countries where the morning and evening meals are large, and
    temanĝo, a light meal during the afternoon, usually consisting of tea, cakes, cookies or sandwiches.
  13. Nizo Senior Member

    P.S. I think it’s interesting that French, Spanish, and English all have chosen the same theme for the first meal of the day, i.e. the idea of ending a period of fast (dé-jeuner, des-ayunar, break-fast). Any others?
  14. psxws

    psxws Senior Member

    Spanish-Venezuela, English-United States
    In Arabic it is فطور, (fuTuur) which comes from the root meaning to break the fast (the meal to break the fast during Ramadan, for example, is called افطار, "ifTaar")

    I had a question about this before because I used to think it was because you cannot eat an hour before church in Catholic tradition (or an hour before communion, at any rate) and so if you'd go to church in the morning you'd essentially fast until you got home. Which is why it surprised me to see the same root in Arabic, which obviously did not have this same tradition. It was explained to me as being related to the idea of there having been a natural fast during the night, since you have not eaten since dinner the night before. That makes sense to me, at least.
  15. ilocas2 Senior Member

    In Czech:

    breakfast - snídaně
    snack - svačina
    lunch - oběd
    snack - svačina
    dinner - večeře
  16. confusednikki=) Member

    in Tagalog:

    breakfast - umagahan
    snack - merienda
    lunch - tanghalian
    dinner - hapunan
  17. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member


    breakfast = aamiainen (very often in informal contexts: aamupala)
    lunch = lounas
    dinner = päivällinen
    (supper = illallinen, not so common in Finland)

    And finally, we have an evening snack called iltapala at 9 or 10 PM. It's similar to aamupala.

    The words are derived from aamu (morning), päivä (day), lounas (south-west!) and ilta (evening, night).
  18. Black4blue

    Black4blue Senior Member


    Lunch=Öğle Yemeği (Noon meal)
    Dinner=Akşam Yemeği (Evening meal)
    snack=atıştırma, abur cubur
  19. Orlin Banned

    Only these 3 "standard" meals have generally accepted names. I've sometimes seen the expression "следобедна закуска" ("afternoon breakfast) for an "intermediate" meal in the late afternoon (mostly for children).
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  20. origumi Senior Member

    Hobbits, of course.

    Only after reading this thread I can understand the origin of two "outdated" meals when I was a little child, grown in environment dominated by Jewish immigrants from central-east Europe.

    * 10 o'clock meal - between breakfast and lunch (Hebrew: ארוחת עשר)
    * 4 o'clock meal - between lunch and dinner (Hebrew: ארוחת ארבע)
  21. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Greek while it does have separate names for each meal (follow my previous post) in our every-day colloquial language we just say «πρωινό» [pro.i'no] (neut. adj.) --> early in the day (meal is omitted), «μεσημεριανό» [mesimerʝa'no] (neut. adj.) --> midday (meal is ommited), «βραδινό» [vraði'no] (neut. adj.) --> evening (meal is omitted).

    Adj. «πρωινός, -νή, -νό» [pro.i'nos] (masc.), [pro.i'ni] (fem.), [pro.i'no] (neut.) --> early in the day < Classical adj. «πρωϊνός, -νὴ, -νόν» prōĭnós (masc.), prōĭnḕ (fem.), prōĭnón (neut.) --> early in the day, at early morning (PIE *proH-, early in the morning cf Skt. प्रतर् (prAtar), at dawn; Lat. prō, for, before)

    Adj. «μεσημεριανός, -νή, -νό» [mesimerʝa'nos] (masc.), [mesimerʝa'ni] (fem.), [mesimerʝa'no] (neut.) --> midday < Classical adj. «μεσημέριος, - ος, -ον» mĕsēmériŏs (masc. & fem.), mĕsēmériŏn (neut.) --> the middle of the day; compound, adj. «μέσος» mésŏs --> (in the) middle (PIE *medʰio-, middle cf Skt. मध्य (madhya), centre; Lat. medius) + fem. noun «ἡμέρα» hēméră --> day (PIE *Heh₂mer-, day cf Arm. օր (awr), day)

    Adj. «βραδινός, -νή, νό» [vraði'nos] (masc.), [vraði'ni] (fem.), [vraði'no] (neut.) --> evening < Classical adj. «βραδύς, -δεῖα, -δὺ bradús (masc.), brădeîă (fem.), bradù (neut.) --> tardy, late, delayed (PIE *gʷrd-u-, slow cf Lith. gurdùs, slow; Ltv. gur̄ds, tired)
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
  22. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Frukost (breakfast) - fru = early, kost = food
    Lunch (lunch)
    Middag (dinner) - mid = middle, dag = day; (earlier: middagsmål = midday meal) When lunch took over the name of the midday meal middag became the name of the dinner, evening meal
    Kvällsmat/aftonmål/kvällsvard (dinner/supper) - kväll = evening, mat = food, afton = evening, vard = old name for meal; Kvällsmat/kvällsvard was once dinner, the evening meal, but when middag became the name of the evening meal, kvällsmat came to mean a late evening meal, supper (at home)

    Supé (supper) used about a late finer evening meal, for example when eating out at a restaurant after having been at a theatre or similar
    Vickning - a late, usually after midnight, light meal at a party before people begin to leave
    Mellanmål (snack) mellan = between, mål = meal; usually used about a snack for children at school or at home, or when adults eat something light, if they have coffee with it, then it's a fika
    Fika (snack, coffee) - a coffee (tea, chocolate) break, if before lunch usually with an open sandwich, after lunch often with something sweet. Also used when taking a coffee (tea, chocolate) at a café
  23. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL, Sp-En mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    In France, generally:

    breakfast - petit déjeuner nm (literally: small "déjeuner", see below)
    lunch - déjeuner nm (literally, quite the same as "breakfast" (stop fasting))
    (snack around 4.30 for kids :D goûter nm (literally: taste)
    dinner - dîner nm (no idea where this comes from)

    But I think that in the past, it used to be as it is in some regions in France or in Belgium for instance:
    breakfast - déjeuner nm
    lunch - dîner nm
    dinner - souper nm

    So you have to be careful and specify the time if you invite Belgian friends in France :D
  24. asanga Member

    This is from the closed thread in the Etymology forum, but I thought I'd reply anyway because there's a lot of confusion about verbs like makan, even among Indonesians.

    There's a strict boundary between the verb makan and the derivative noun makanan, and makan siangmakanan siang. Makan siang is lunch, makanan siang would refer to food typically served in the early afternoon, a lunch dish.

    So if makan is strictly a verb, how can makan siang be a noun meaning lunch? All Indonesian verbs can act as verbal nouns in unchanged form:

    Dia berenang setiap pagi. He swims every morning.
    Berenang sangat baik untuk kesehatan. Swimming is very good for your health.

    Dia makan siang bersama keluarganya. He eats lunch with his family.
    Makan siang membuat saya mengantuk. Eating lunch makes me sleepy.

    Note that although dia makan siang looks like a transitive verb "he eats lunch", it's actually an intransitive verb with a complement, "he eats in the early afernoon" = he lunches.

    Makan siang as a verbal noun therefore literally means "Eating in the early afternoon" = lunch. In contrast, makanan siang consists of two nouns, the 2nd modifying the 1st: "food of/for the early afternoon" = food typically served in the afernoon, a lunch dish. Cf. English "late-night snack".

    Indonesians get confused because makan is a base verb (like pergi, datang, masuk, tinggal, bangun, etc.) which doesn't require any prefixes or suffixes. Strictly speaking, all verbs of this type are intransitive, and we must add affixes to make them transitive active or passive:

    dia masuk he enters
    dia memasuki rumah he enters the house
    rumah dimasuki pencuri the house was entered by thieves

    harimau makan the tiger eats
    harimau memakan kancil the tiger eats the deer
    kancil dimakan harimau the deer is eaten by the tiger

    In colloquial Indonesian, however, we use the intransitive base as active transitive verbs: dia masuk rumah he enters the house, dia makan nasi he eats rice. Memakan sounds like an intensive "to eat up, completely consume", rather than simply the official transitive active form. So we tend to think of makan as a transitive verb, yet in a phrase like makan siang, siang is clearly not the object: we don't eat the early afternoon. Unconsciously we may therefore think of makan siang as a compound noun, like buku sekola schoolbook, rather than as a nominalized verb phrase, and some people explain it to foreigners as if makan is used in the place of makanan.

    As for the names of the meals, we mostly say:

    breakfast = sarapan (pagi)
    lunch = makan siang (makan tengahari is Malaysian)
    dinner = makan malam
  25. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    When I was in the army, we were building underground concrete shelters for the anti-aircraft missiles around Prague as some murderers from the Wall Street allegedly wanted to kill us with N-bombs (I don't mean the psychedelic drug). We worked hard 12 hours a day, so we had 5 meals a day. (Btw, it was a senseless work, now we have the most expensive storehouses for potatoes in the world).

    We had the following meals:
    snídaně - before 6am (eggs, sausages, cheese, salami, butter - not all at once, of course);
    (dopolední) svačina - 9am (a thick soup, bread);
    oběd - at noon (a light soup, main dish e.g. goulash+knödel, chicken+pasta, schnitzel+potatoes);
    (odpolední) svačina - 3pm (salami, liver pâté, cheese or something sweet);
    večeře - after 6pm (like oběd without soup; packed food on Sunday);

    Usually the main meals are: snídaně (6-8am), oběd (11am-1pm), večeře (6-8pm).

    Related verbs:
    impf. snídati, svačiti, obědvati, večeřeti;
    perf. posnídati, posvačiti, poobědvati, povečeřeti;
    perf. nasnídati se, nasvačiti se, naobědvati se, navečeřeti se;

    snídaně < *sъn- (prefix, cf. Gr. syn-) + *jědanьje (= eating) < jědati (= to eat, cf. Lat. edere);
    oběd < ob- (prefix, cf. Lat. ob-) + *jěd(anьje), see above;
    svačina < *svatčina (= feast meal) < svátek (= feast) < svatý (= holly, saint);
    večeře < večer (= evening, cf. Lat vesper);

    dopolední = adj. of dopoledne (= "beforenoon");
    odpolední = adj. of odpoledne (= afternoon);
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  26. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    Thank you, asanga (#24), for your informative explanation of Indonesian meal-names, with the bonus of transitive and intransitive verbs, etc.
    My small dictionary has some strange gaps: it doesn't include "sarapan" (breakfast), only "sarap" (rubbish). Could they be related?;)
  27. arielipi Senior Member

    In hebrew theres a name for the meal before the fast: סעודה מפסקת se'uda mafseket lit. stop/breaking meal.
    The eating after the fast is called שבירת צום shvirat tzom lit. breaking fast.
    The first meal on shabbat is called סעודת ערב שבת se'udat erev shabbat meal of the evening of saturday, the second סעודת יום שבת se'udat yom shabbat meal of the dayof saturday, and the third is called סעודה שלישית se'uda shlishit third meal.
  28. asanga Member

    Sarapan is from the verb sarap, meaning "to eat a little to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling of an empty stomach", i.e. "to break fast". For the end of a religious fast we use the term buka puasa "opening the fast".

    If your Indonesian is already good enough to read a monolingual dictionary, the official dictionary of the Indonesian Language Centre can be found here:
  29. Yaella Member

    Français - Belgique
    Wouldn't "maal" in Dutch be related to "meal" in English?
  30. jana.bo99

    jana.bo99 Senior Member

    Cro, Slo
    breakfast, lunch, dinner

    In Croatian: doručak, ručak, večera

    In Slovenian: zajtrk, kosilo, večerja

    In German: Frühstück, Mittagessen, Abendessen
  31. Favara Senior Member

    Catalan - Southern Val.
    Catalan (at least Valencian, I'm not sure about the rest):

    Desdejuni (breakfast): Prefix des- (negation/inversion) + dejuni ("fast", Latin ieiunium)
    Esmorzar (mid-morning): Latin admordere ("to bite")
    Dinar (noon, or a bit later): Same origin as desdejuni (dis + ieiunare)
    Berenar (evening): Latin merenda
    Sopar (night): From sopa ("soup")

    5 meals a day!
  32. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    In Chinese:

    早饭 / 午饭 / 晚饭 (morning meal / noon meal / evening meal)
    早餐 / 午餐 / 晚餐 (more formal words: morning meal / noon meal / evening meal)

    Sometimes, in some regions, 早点 (morning dim-sum), 早茶 (morning tea) would be used, but "morning / noon / evening" will always be kept.

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