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Related to meal: meal plan
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.
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.
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!
A wholesome, nutritious meal. The hot lunch program at school provides square meals for underprivileged children.
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.
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.
looking like a whole meal
slang Looking very physically attractive or appealing. The phrase is a humorous escalation of the slang term "looking like a snack." He's just standing over there, looking like a whole meal—you should go talk to him. Ooh girl, I hope you're ready to get hit on cause you're looking like a whole meal tonight!
meals rejected by Ethiopians
A false, humorous expansion of the initialism MRE, which actually stands for "meal ready to eat," a (typically military) food ration pack that requires no further preparation. The joke is that the food is so unpleasant that even someone who is starving would reject it. The association of Ethiopians with starvation could be considered offensive. After 12 long months eating meals rejected by Ethiopians, I'm ready to get back to home-cooked meals.
meals rejected by the enemy
A false, humorous expansion of the initialism MRE, which actually stands for "meal ready to eat" (a military ration pack that requires no further preparation). The joke is that the food is so unpleasant that it had been discarded by the enemy before being repackaged for one's own consumption. After 12 long months eating meals rejected by the enemy, I'm ready to get back to home-cooked meals in my own home.
out to (some meal)
Away from one's normal location to eat a particular meal. Do you want to go out to brunch tomorrow? Sorry, the boss is out to lunch right now. Can I leave a message?
See also: out
1. adjective, slang Dull, conventional, or unfashionable; not inclined to do fun, risky, or unconventional things. God, when did I become so square? I used to love going out on a Friday night, but now I'd rather just stay home and read. It's inevitable that your kids are going to think you're square, so it's no use resisting it or trying to change their minds.
2. noun, slang A dull, conventional, or unfashionable person; someone who is not inclined to do fun, risky, or unconventional things. All the kids in this school are squares, you know? Back in my old school, we used to do all sorts of wild things! I know you think I'm a square, but I've got actual responsibilities that I have to deal with.
3. noun A filling and nutritious meal. It was a tough place to live, but at least we always got three squares a day.
4. noun, slang A cigarette. Hey, man, could I bum a square off ya? A key part of being a waiter was always figuring out when to slip outside for a square or two.
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.
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?
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 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]
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 somethingor
make a meal out of somethingmainly 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.
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.
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.
make a meal oftreat 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.
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)
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.
a square ˈmeala large and satisfying meal: The children get three square meals a day.
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.”
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).
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 square meal
A source of financial support, particularly from one of the opposite sex. This transfer from a literal ticket that entitles one to a meal in a restaurant or other facility took place around 1900. At first it was used mainly for a sugar daddy, but in time it was broadened. Thus on May 22, 1949, the New York Times had it, “Man and Superman [the play] . . . is the title of [actor] Maurice Evans’ current meal ticket.”
square meal, a
A substantial and nourishing repast. A mid-nineteenth-century Americanism, the term appears in humorist Stephen Leacock’s Literary Lapses (1910): “Any two meals at a boarding-house are together less than two square meals.”
See also: square