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luncheon

[luhn-chuh n]
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noun
  1. lunch, especially a formal lunch held in connection with a meeting or other special occasion: the alumni luncheon.
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Origin of luncheon

1570–80; dissimilated variant of nuncheon (now dial.), Middle English none(s)chench noon drink, equivalent to none noon + schench, Old English scenc a drink, cup, akin to Old English scencan to pour out, give drink, cognate with Dutch, German schenken
Related formslunch·eon·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for luncheon

luncheon

noun
  1. a lunch, esp a formal one
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Word Origin

C16: probably variant of nuncheon, from Middle English noneschench, from none noon + schench drink
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 luncheon

n.

"light repast between mealtimes," 1650s (lunching; spelling luncheon by 1706); earlier "thick piece, hunk," 1570s (luncheon), of uncertain origin. Perhaps northern English dialectal lunch "hunk of bread or cheese" (1580s; probably from Spanish lonja "a slice," literally "loin"), blended with or influenced by nuncheon (Middle English nonechenche, mid-14c.) "light mid-day meal," from none "noon" (see noon) + schench "drink," from Old English scenc, from scencan "pour out."

Despite the form lunching in the 1650s source OED discounts that it possibly could be from lunch (v.), which is much later. It suggests perhaps an analogy with truncheon, etc. Especially in reference to an early afternoon meal eaten by those who have a noontime dinner.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper