Meaning of MEAL in English



1. a meal

2. a meal in the morning

3. a meal in the middle of the day

4. a meal in the evening

5. a formal meal

6. a meal outside

7. a meal you buy in a restaurant and eat at home

8. a very large meal

9. a meal in which you choose and serve your own food

10. a small meal

11. part of a meal


see also










1. a meal

▷ meal /miːl/ [countable noun]

the food that you eat in the morning, in the middle of the day, or in the evening, either at home or in a restaurant :

▪ The hotel was nice, and the meals were really good.

▪ Miriam was silent all through the meal.

▪ You shouldn’t exercise after a big meal.

have a meal

▪ We had an excellent meal in a Chinese restaurant.

cook somebody a meal

▪ Jeff cooked us a delicious meal last night.

go out for a meal

go to a restaurant

▪ Would you like to go out for a meal sometime, Emma?

take somebody out for a meal

take someone to a restaurant and pay for their meal

▪ It was Lisa’s birthday so we took her out for a meal.

main meal

the biggest meal of the day

▪ We usually have our main meal in the middle of the day.

▷ something to eat /ˌsʌmθɪŋ tʊ ˈiːt/ [noun phrase]

a meal, especially a small or quick meal :

▪ Can I get you something to eat?

have something to eat

▪ We’ll have something to eat, and then go out.

▷ feed British /feeding American /fiːd, ˈfiːdɪŋ/ [countable noun]

a meal, consisting only of milk, that a baby has :

▪ A young baby needs small feeds at frequent intervals.

▪ Lois has gotten tired of the late night feedings.

have a feed


▪ Her baby has its lunchtime feed, then goes to sleep.

2. a meal in the morning

▷ breakfast /ˈbrekfəst/ [countable/uncountable noun]

the meal you eat when you get up in the morning :

▪ What do you want for breakfast - cereal or toast?

▪ After breakfast we went for a walk on the beach.

eat/have (your) breakfast

▪ George was having his breakfast when the phone rang.

▷ brunch /brʌntʃ/ [countable/uncountable noun] especially American

a meal eaten late in the morning, as a combination of breakfast and lunch :

▪ On the first day of the vacation we all slept late, then had a huge brunch.

▪ They served smoked salmon, cream cheese and bagels for brunch.

3. a meal in the middle of the day

▷ lunch /lʌntʃ/ [countable/uncountable noun]

the meal you eat in the middle of the day :

▪ At work we are allowed one hour for lunch.

▪ See you after lunch.

eat/have lunch

▪ Shall we have lunch before we go out?

a late/an early lunch

▪ We had an early lunch and spent the afternoon shopping.

Sunday lunch


▪ We always have roast beef for Sunday lunch.

▷ dinner /ˈdɪnəʳ/ [countable/uncountable noun] especially British

the meal eaten in the middle of the day. This word is also used for large meals eaten in the middle of the day on Sundays or holidays. :

▪ He comes home for his dinner, then goes back to the factory.

school dinner

a dinner which is provided for children at school

▪ She used to hate school dinners.

Sunday/Christmas/Thanksgiving dinner

▪ We had some friends round for Sunday dinner.

▪ In one of my less lucid moments, I had volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner.

▷ midday meal British /noon meal American /ˌmɪd-deɪ ˈmiːl, ˌnuːn ˈmiːl/ [countable noun]

the meal eaten in the middle of the day - use this especially when describing what happens in other countries :

▪ In Spain, the midday meal almost always starts with tomato salad.

▪ The noon meal was carried out to the fields where the harvesters were working.

4. a meal in the evening

▷ dinner /ˈdɪnəʳ/ [countable/uncountable noun]

the meal you eat in the evening :

▪ What shall we have for dinner?

▪ Sarah cooked us a really nice dinner.

▪ At dinner, he announced that he was leaving home.

▪ Shall we discuss this over dinner?

go out for dinner

go to a restaurant or to someone else’s house

▪ We went out for dinner at the Ritz.

eat/have dinner

▪ Why don’t you come and have dinner with us?

▷ supper /ˈsʌpəʳ/ [countable/uncountable noun] especially British

the meal you eat in the evening :

▪ After supper we watched a video.

eat/have (your) supper

▪ I had my supper and went to bed.

▷ tea /tiː/ [countable/uncountable noun] British

a meal you eat at home early in the evening :

▪ What’s for tea?

have (your) tea

▪ The children came home from school, had tea and did their homework.

▷ evening meal /ˌiːvnɪŋ ˈmiːl/ [countable noun]

the meal eaten in the evening :

▪ After the evening meal they sat around the cooking-fire and talked.

▪ Preparing the evening meal can take up to three hours.

5. a formal meal

▷ dinner party /ˈdɪnəʳ ˌpɑːʳti/ [countable noun]

a formal meal in your home when you invite friends or guests :

▪ He is a charming man, the kind of person you would want to sit next to at a dinner party.

have a dinner party

▪ We’re having a dinner party on Tuesday. Would you like to come?

▷ dinner /ˈdɪnəʳ/ [countable noun]

a formal evening meal for a large number of people, especially in a public place such as a hotel :

▪ She had a ticket for a dinner and fashion show at the Castle Hotel.

▪ Ann and I attended a dinner at the City Chamber of Commerce.

▷ banquet /ˈbæŋkwɪt, ˈbæŋkwət/ [countable noun]

a special formal meal with a lot of very good food and a large number of people, especially important people, which usually takes place on a special public occasion :

▪ A huge banquet was planned to celebrate the city’s millennium.

▪ a state banquet hosted by the French Prime Minister

▷ luncheon /ˈlʌntʃ ə n/ [countable noun]

a formal meal in the middle of the day for a large number of people, especially in a public place such as a hotel :

▪ Over 200 attended the Women in Journalism luncheon last Tuesday.

6. a meal outside

▷ picnic /ˈpɪknɪk/ [countable noun]

a cold meal that you take to a park or the countryside to eat outside :

▪ We took a picnic down to the beach.

have a picnic

▪ It was a beautiful day - we had a picnic by the river.

go on/for a picnic

▪ In summer, we sometimes go on picnics together.

a picnic area/table/basket

▪ Some campgrounds provide a picnic table right outside your door.

a picnic lunch

▪ Pack a picnic lunch and head for the country.

▷ barbecue /ˈbɑːʳbɪkjuː/ [countable noun]

a party when you cook and eat food outside :

▪ I’ll get some burgers and ribs for the barbecue.

have a barbecue

▪ If the weather’s nice we’ll have a barbecue.

▷ al fresco /æl ˈfreskəʊ/ [adverb]

if you eat al fresco, you have a meal outdoors :

▪ Guests can dine al fresco on a terrace with stunning views of the valley below.

▪ I’d enjoy al fresco eating much more if it wasn’t for all the wasps!

7. a meal you buy in a restaurant and eat at home

▷ takeaway British [countable noun] /takeout American [uncountable noun] /ˈteɪkəweɪ, ˈteɪkaʊt/

a meal that you buy from a restaurant and then eat at home :

▪ Dave just lives on beer and takeaways.

▪ I don’t feel like cooking tonight -- can we get some takeout?

▪ a takeout pizza

▷ to take away British /to go American /tə ˌteɪk əˈweɪ, tə ˈgəʊ/ [adverb]

food or drink to take away or to go is intended to be taken away from the restaurant where you have bought it so that you can eat it somewhere else :

▪ Joe ordered a slice of pizza and a Coke to go.

▪ Do you want that hamburger to eat here or to take away?

8. a very large meal

▷ three-course meal /ˌθriː kɔːʳs ˈmiːl/ [countable noun]

a large meal with three separate parts, of the type that is usually served in restaurants :

▪ I can’t eat a three-course meal at lunch time -- it’s just too much.

▪ You can get a three-course meal for $25 in the barbecue grill.

▷ feast /fiːst/ [countable noun]

a very large meal for a large number of people, to celebrate a special occasion :

▪ There were over sixty guests at the wedding feast.

▪ The Christmas celebrations in Fiji are rounded off by a huge feast on Christmas Day.

▷ heavy /ˈhevi/ [adjective usually before noun]

a heavy meal, lunch, dinner etc is one in which you eat a lot of food, and that makes you feel tired and your stomach feel full :

▪ You shouldn’t eat a heavy meal before going swimming.

▪ After a heavy lunch my father fell asleep almost immediately.

▷ slap-up meal /ˌslæp ʌp ˈmiːl/ [countable noun] British informal

a large meal with a lot of good food :

▪ If they give me the job I’ll take you out for a slap-up meal.

▷ spread /spred/ [countable noun] informal

a large meal for several people :

▪ They were looking forward to the spread that Judith had prepared.

9. a meal in which you choose and serve your own food

▷ buffet /;bʊfeɪǁbəˈfeɪ/ [countable noun]

a meal in which food is put on a table and you serve yourself from the things that are there :

▪ We’re not having a big formal meal at the wedding - just a buffet.

▪ Try out all-you-can-eat buffet - only £5 per person

buffet lunch

▪ We’ll have a buffet lunch at about one o'clock and a sit-down meal in the evening.

10. a small meal

▷ light /laɪt/ [adjective usually before noun]

a light meal, lunch, etc is one in which you do not eat much food, especially food that contains a lot of fat, so that it does not make your stomach feel too full :

▪ She prepared a light lunch of salad and cheese.

▪ You can have a light meal four hours before the game but only have drinks after that.

▷ snack /snæk/ [countable noun]

something such as an apple, some bread, or a bar of chocolate which you eat between meals :

▪ Just before bedtime he had a snack of bread and cheese.

▪ The children have mid-morning snacks at about 11 o'clock -- usually fruit and a drink.

▷ bite /baɪt/ [singular noun] informal

a very small meal that you eat quickly :

▪ We’ll have a bite then go into town.

a bite to eat

▪ There’s just time for a quick bite to eat before the film begins.

▷ refreshments /rɪˈfreʃmənts/ [plural noun]

small amounts of food and drink that are provided for people at a party, meeting etc :

▪ The children walked around at the party offering refreshments.

▪ Meetings are open to the public, and refreshments are provided.

light refreshments

▪ Catering tents provide coffee, snacks, and other light refreshments.

11. part of a meal

▷ course /kɔːʳs/ [countable noun]

one of the parts of a meal that are served one after the other :

▪ The waiter brought the first course, a simple leek and potato soup.

▪ a five-course banquet

main course

the biggest course in a meal

▪ For the main course we had roast turkey with vegetables.

▷ dish /dɪʃ/ [countable noun]

a particular kind of food cooked in a particular way and served at a meal :

▪ My favourite Italian dish is lasagne.

▪ In addition to the extensive Tandoori menu, there is a wide selection of vegetarian dishes.

▷ starter British /appetizer American /ˈstɑːʳtəʳ, ˈæpə̇taɪzəʳ/ [countable noun]

the first part of a meal in a restaurant :

▪ What would you like for a starter - soup or garlic mushrooms?

▪ a delightful appetizer of small clams

▷ dessert also pudding British /dɪˈzɜːʳt, ˈpʊdɪŋ/ [countable/uncountable noun]

the sweet part of a meal that you have at the end :

▪ ‘Would you like a dessert, Madam?’ ‘Yes please, I’ll have the cheesecake.’

have something for dessert/pudding

▪ I had fruit salad for dessert.

▪ At children’s parties, it’s traditional to have jelly and ice-cream for pudding.

▷ for afters /fər ˈɑːftəʳzǁ-ˈæf-/ [preposition] British spoken

if you have something for afters, you have it as your dessert :

▪ We’re having roast beef, with apple pie for afters.

▪ For afters, it’s rice pudding.

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