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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

a few fries short of a Happy Meal

A pejorative phrase meaning not very intelligent or of questionable mental capacity. It can appear in many different forms and variations (for example: a few bricks shy of a load, a few cards shy of a full deck, etc.). Every time Paul tells me about his latest conspiracy theory, I can't help thinking that he's a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
See also: few, fries, happy, meal, of, short

Meals on Wheels

A program that organizes food delivery to the elderly, ill, and other people who cannot leave their homes or cook for themselves. Before he went into a nursing home, my grandfather got food delivered to him by Meals on Wheels.
See also: Meal, on, Wheel

meal ticket

A person or thing used to provide permanent financial income. This new business was supposed to be my meal ticket, but it's costing me more money than I'm making. I'm a model, so my face is my meal ticket, and I can't afford to have a blemish!
See also: meal, ticket

square meal

A wholesome, nutritious meal. The hot lunch program at school provides square meals for underprivileged children.
See also: meal, square

enjoy your meal

An expression said by a server upon serving food in a restaurant. Here's the pasta for you, and the salmon for you, sir. Enjoy your meal.
See also: enjoy, meal

make a meal (out) of (something)

1. To prepare and eat some food and consider it a full meal, even though it may not resemble a traditional meal. I haven't had a chance to go to the grocery store, but we can probably make a meal out of whatever's left in the fridge. Back in college, we often made a meal of crackers and peanut butter—it was all we could afford!
2. To do more work than is necessary when completing some task. I just need a rough summary of the numbers for the report—don't make a meal out of it.
See also: make, meal, of

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.

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

make a meal of something


make a meal out of something

mainly BRITISH
If someone makes a meal of something or makes a meal out of it, they spend too much time or energy on it. He's only been asked to write a brief essay but he's making such a meal of it. Only spend an hour or so on the task — don't make a meal out of it.
See also: make, meal, of, something

a meal ticket

If you describe something or someone as a meal ticket, you mean that they are a way of getting all the money that you need throughout your life. A degree has never been a meal ticket, but the recession is making life for graduates tougher than ever. He was wealthy. I think she saw him as a life-long meal ticket.
See also: meal, ticket

a square meal

A square meal is a large, healthy meal that makes you feel you have eaten enough. The troops were tired and hadn't had a square meal for five days. Do you survive on yogurt at lunchtime while your partner wants a square meal? Note: On sailing ships in the past, sailors ate off square wooden plates.
See also: meal, square

make a meal of

treat a task or occurrence with more attention or care than necessary, especially for effect. British informal
1961 Colin Willock Death in Covert Dyson… was making a meal of everything. He had carefully paced the distance…He had stuck sticks in the ground.
See also: make, meal, of

make a ˈmeal of/out of something

(informal) do something with more effort and care than it really needs; treat something as more serious than it really is: Just write her a short note — don’t make a meal of it.It’s only a small mistake. There’s no need to make such a meal out of it, is there? OPPOSITE: make nothing of something (1)
See also: make, meal, of, out, something

a ˈmeal ticket

(informal) a person or thing that you see only as a source of money and food: He suspected that he was just a meal ticket for her.I hoped the guitar would become my meal ticket.
See also: meal, ticket

a square ˈmeal

a large and satisfying meal: The children get three square meals a day.
See also: meal, 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.