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Related to Meals: Meals on Wheels

cat in the meal-tub

obsolete A surprise attack or ambush; a hidden or unseen danger. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. Many people want to legalize marijuana but are in denial of the cats in the meal-tub that may come with doing so. The young political candidate waited like a cat in a meal-tub for his rival's sordid history to come to public attention.
See also: cat

Enjoy your meal,

an expression used by food servers after the food has been served. The waiter set the plates on the table, smiled, and said, "Enjoy your meal." Waiter: Here's your dinner. Jane: Oh, this lobster looks lovely! Tom: My steak looks just perfect. Waiter: Enjoy your meal.
See also: enjoy, meal

make a meal of something

1. to eat something. The cat made a meal of the fish. They made a meal of the roast beef and enjoyed it very much.
2. to eat enough of something to consider it or have it as a full meal. I really don't want to make a meal of lettuce alone. Can we make a meal of this turkey, or should we save some for sandwiches?
See also: make, meal, of

square (meal)

a good and nutritious meal. (Always with quantifier when square is used without meal.) I need three squares a day—at least. The old beggar looks like he could use a square meal.

a few fries short of a Happy Meal

not very intelligent I could tell he was a few fries short of a Happy Meal, but unfortunately you can't arrest someone for being stupid.
Usage notes: this idiom appears in many different forms, including a few cards short of a full deck, a few bricks short of a full load, a few clowns short of a circus, and a few Cokes short of a six-pack, all with the same meaning
See also: few, fries, happy, meal, of, short

a meal ticket

someone or something that you use as a way of getting regular amounts of money for the rest of your life Gone are the days when a university degree was a meal ticket for life.
See also: meal, ticket

make a meal (out) of something

  (British & Australian)
to spend more time or energy doing something than is necessary I only asked her to write a brief summary of the main points but she made a real meal out of it.
See also: make, meal, of

a square meal

a big meal that provides your body with all the different types of food it needs to stay healthy Most of these supermodels don't look like they've had a square meal in their life. If you're only eating a chocolate bar for lunch you need a good square meal in the evening.
See also: meal, square

meal ticket

A person or thing depended on as a source of income, as in Magic Johnson was a real meal ticket for his team, or Her interpersonal skills will be her meal ticket when she goes into sales. This metaphoric expression alludes to the earlier practice of handing out tickets that entitle their holder to a meal. [Early 1900s]
See also: meal, ticket

square meal, a

A substantial or complete meal, as in These airlines never feed you; I haven't had a square meal on one yet. [Mid-1800s]
See also: square

meals rejected by Ethiopians

n. military rations, MRE = meal ready to eat. (Cruelly designated at a time when Ethiopians where starving to death. Implying that not even starving humans would eat MREs. That said, it is also known that such rations have been rejected by hungry people who desire more familiar food.) The reporter was embarrassed to describe the MREs as “meals rejected by Ethiopians.”
See also: meal, reject


1. mod. old-fashioned; law-abiding; stodgy. Man, you are really square.
2. n. a person who behaves properly. You are a square if I ever saw one.
3. and square joint n. a tobacco cigarette, compared to a marijuana cigarette. I’ll take a reefer. I’ve heard that square joints will give you cancer.
4. tv. to settle or to make something right. Will twenty bucks square the matter?
5. Go to square (meal).

square (meal)

n. a good and nutritious meal. (Always with quantifier when square is used without meal.) I need three squares a day—at least. The old soak looks like he could use a square meal.
See also: meal, square


References in classic literature ?
The Cretans conducted their public meals better than the Lacedaemonians, for at Lacedsemon each individual was obliged to furnish what was assessed upon him; which if he could not do, there was a law which deprived him of the rights of a citizen, as has been already mentioned: but in Crete they were furnished by the community; for all the corn and cattle, taxes and contributions, which the domestic slaves were obliged to furnish, were divided into parts and allotted to the gods, the exigencies of the state, and these public meals; so that all the men, women, and children were maintained from a common stock.
Strickland used to come here now and then to have a square meal or to play chess with one of the boys.
There was really an air of romance in the meal and in the place.
Outside the door Sven Anderssen paused with the noonday meal he had been carrying to Lady Greystoke.
As he was incaudate it was conferred upon his chin, which he now wags with great profit and gratification except when he is at his meals.
From these meals she retired about five minutes after the other servants, having only stayed to drink "the king over the water.
Undertakers on duty would be sprightly beside them; and a collation of funeral-baked meats, in comparison with these meals, would be a sparkling festivity.
I took the sack of corn meal and took it to where the canoe was hid, and shoved the vines and branches apart and put it in; then I done the same with the side of bacon; then the whisky-jug.
Thus it was that we lunched together amid the books and birds, in an exquisite solitude a deux; for the ringer of the silver bell had disappeared, having left a dainty meal in readiness--for two.
In a hall, the height of which was greatly disproportioned to its extreme length and width, a long oaken table, formed of planks rough-hewn from the forest, and which had scarcely received any polish, stood ready prepared for the evening meal of Cedric the Saxon.
Piperson fetched meal from a chest and made porridge.
Forth from it he drew--not shining gold--but handfuls of fine meal which he dashed into the eager faces of the men around him.
Presently our meal came to an end; the misshapen monster with the pointed ears cleared the remains away, and Montgomery left me alone in the room again.
His wife ordered a richer and more delicate meal than usual, and the landlady herself cooked it, for at heart she is not a bad woman.
Now and then there was a scanty meal of fish or wild-fowl, occasionally an antelope; but frequently the cravings of hunger had to be appeased with roots, or the flesh of wolves and muskrats.