slap-up meal

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gnihs

Member
China: Cantonese;Traditional Chinese
Hello,

I just studied a collocation: slap-up meal. It means a unusually large and good meal.

Could anyone tell me why slap-up can match with meal? I think that there is a story behind that collocation, isn't it?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi gnihs,

    As far as I know, this is not an AE collocation; it is exclusively BE. In AE, we may have slap-dash meals, but not slap-up meals. Brewer's Dictionary of phrases indicates that the expresion apparently means to eat well. "The expression goes back to the time of Charles Dickens, when it was a "slap-bang" meal, derived from cheap eating houses, where one slapped one's money down as the food was banged on the table. Why "down" has turned to "up" is probably another example of language evolution." I can't see how or why a meal for which one "slaps down" ones money for a plate that is "banged on the table" means that it's a good meal. We'll have to look to the BE speakers for further illumination.
     

    jamesjiao

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English and Mandarin Chinese
    The expression goes back to the time of Charles Dickens, when it was a "slap-bang" meal, derived from cheap eating houses, where one slapped one's money down as the food was banged on the table. Why "down" has turned to "up" is probably another example of language evolution, in much the same way as "to be sold a pig in a poke" has come to mean that one has been cheated, whereas, in reality, the reason for going to a medieval market was often to buy the pig and not to be "sold a pup"! - Brewer's

    Edit: I see Joelline found the same quote!
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I reckon it may be two idioms merging into one: slap-bang meal as described + slap-up meaning 'fashionable, first-rate, of superior quality' [early 19C]
     

    eaunca

    Member
    Spanish
    Thank you very much for your further explanation. I studied that collocation in the book "English collocations in use - Intermediate level" by Cambridge University and I didn't understand this concept, actually I asked to an American friend about it and she told me that she had never heard it.

    I love this forum, because I can get this kind of specific answers!
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