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meal1

[meel]
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noun
  1. the food served and eaten especially at one of the customary, regular occasions for taking food during the day, as breakfast, lunch, or supper.
  2. one of these regular occasions or times for eating food.
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Origin of meal1

before 900; Middle English; Old English mǣl measure, fixed time, occasion, meal; cognate with German Mal time, Mahl meal, Old Norse māl, Gothic mēl time, hour
Related formsmeal·less, adjective

meal2

[meel]
noun
  1. a coarse, unsifted powder ground from the edible seeds of any grain: wheat meal; cornmeal.
  2. any ground or powdery substance, as of nuts or seeds, resembling this.
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Origin of meal2

before 900; Middle English mele, Old English melu; cognate with German Mehl, Dutch meel, Old Norse mjǫl; akin to Gothic malan, Latin molere to grind. See mill1
Related formsmeal·less, adjective

-meal

  1. a native English combining form, now unproductive, denoting a fixed measure at a time: piecemeal.
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Origin of -meal

Middle English -mele, Old English -mǣlum, combining form representing mǣl meal1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for meal

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British Dictionary definitions for meal

meal1

noun
    1. any of the regular occasions, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc, when food is served and eaten
    2. (in combination)mealtime Related adjective: prandial
  1. the food served and eaten
  2. make a meal of informal to perform (a task) with unnecessarily great effort
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Word Origin

Old English mǣl measure, set time, meal; related to Old High German māl mealtime

meal2

noun
  1. the edible part of a grain or pulse (excluding wheat) ground to a coarse powder, used chiefly as animal food
  2. Scot oatmeal
  3. mainly US maize flour
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Derived Formsmeal-less, adjective

Word Origin

Old English melu; compare Dutch meel, Old High German melo, Old Norse mjöl
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for meal

n.1

"food; time for eating," c.1200 (perhaps late Old English), mel "appointed time for eating," also "a meal, feast," from Old English mæl "fixed time, occasion, a meal," from Proto-Germanic *mæla- (cf. Old Frisian mel "time;" Middle Dutch mael, Dutch maal "time, meal;" Old Norse mal "measure, time, meal;" German Mal "time," Mahl "meal;" Gothic mel "time, hour"), from PIE *me-lo-, from root *me- "to measure" (see meter (n.2)). Original sense of "time" is preserved in piecemeal. Meals-on-wheels attested from 1961. Meal ticket first attested 1870 in literal sense of "ticket of admission to a dining hall;" figurative sense of "source of income or livelihood" is from 1899.

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n.2

"edible ground grain," Old English melu "meal, flour," from West Germanic *melwan "grind" (cf. Old Frisian mele "meal," Old Saxon melo, Middle Dutch mele, Dutch meel, Old High German melo, German Mehl, Old Norse mjöl "meal;" Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic malan "to grind," German mahlen), from PIE root *mele- "to grind" (see mallet).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with meal

meal

In addition to the idiom beginning with meal

; also see

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.