Word of the Day : September 21, 2011


adjective pree-PRAN-dee-ul


: of, relating to, or suitable for the time just before dinner

Did You Know?

Though the Latin noun "prandium" means "late breakfast" or "luncheon," its derivative English adjectives -- "preprandial," "prandial," and "postprandial" -- are just as likely to refer to other meals; in fact, "preprandial" is usually applied to dinner. Those adjectives were quite new in our language ("prandial" and "postprandial" first appeared in print in 1820, and "preprandial" in 1822) when a Scottish judge wrote in his memoirs, "Every glass during dinner required to be dedicated to the health of some one.... This prandial nuisance was horrible." English also acquired the adverbs "prandially" and "postprandially," but those are much rarer words these days.


Although dinner was served late, the preprandial conversation was so diverting that no one minded.

"Churchill celebrated Christmas with the Roosevelts, took part in FDR's preprandial cocktail hours, shared most meals with the president, and, to Eleanor Roosevelt's great dismay, kept her husband up until the early hours each morning, drinking brandy, puffing cigars, and talking endlessly about everything." -- From Lynne Olson's 2010 book Citizens of London

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