Online Encyclopedia

MEAL

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 947 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MEAL. (I) (A word common to Teutonic languages, cf. Ger. Mehl, Du. meel; the ultimate source is the root seen in various Teutonic words meaning " to grind," and in Eng. " mill," Lat. mole, molere, Gr. µal), a powder made from the edible part of any grain or pulse, with the exception of wheat, which is known as " flour." In America the word is specifically applied to the meal produced from Indian corn or maize, as in Scotland and Ireland to that produced from oats, while in South Africa the ears of the Indian corn itself are called " mealies." (2) Properly, eating and drinking at regular stated times of the day, as breakfast, dinner, &c., hence taking of food at any time and also the food provided. The word was in O.E. mael, which also had the meanings (now lost) of time, mark, measure, &c., which still appear in many forms of the word in Teutonic languages; thus Ger. mel, time, mark, cf. Denkmal, monument, Muhl, meal, repast, or Du. meal, Swed. mel, also with both meanings. The ultimate source is the pre-Teutonic root me- ma-, to measure, and the word thus stood for a marked-out point of time.
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THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER (1823–1867)
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