English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English undermele, undermel (the early part of the afternoon, midday, noon; an afternoon meal or nap), from Old English undernmǣl (morning, morning time; morning meal), equivalent to undern +‎ meal. Compare the word for midday and the word undern.

Noun edit

undermeal (plural undermeals)

  1. (obsolete) Synonym of undern: originally terce and the morning, later (UK, dialectal, obsolete) noon and the early afternoon.
    • 1599, Nash, Leuten Stuff:
      By the time—he hath din'd at a taverne, and slept his undermeals at a bawdy-house, his purse is [empty].
  2. (obsolete) Synonym of siesta: an afternoon nap.
    • 1599, Nash, Leuten Stuff:
      In a narrower limit than the forty years' undermeal of the seven sleepers.
  3. (obsolete) An afternoon meal or snack.
    • 1608, Withals:
      Another great supper, or undermeal, was made ready for them, coming home from ditching and plowing.
    • c. 1614-1631, Ben Johnson, Bartholomew Fayre: A Comedy:
      I think I am furnished for [=with] Cather'ne pears, [enough] for one undermeal.
    • 1630, Samuel Ward, “Sermon on the Life of Faith, quoted in 1883”, in Kingsthorpiana; Or, Researches in a Church Chest, page 97:
      Why should not thy soul have her due drinks, breakfasts, meals, undermeals, bevers, and aftermeals, as well as thy body?'

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