American English

Definition of meal noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] an occasion when people sit down to eat food, especially breakfast, lunch, or dinner Try not to eat between meals. Lunch is his main meal of the day. to go out for a meal (= to go to a restaurant to have a meal) What time would you like your evening meal? Topic CollocationsRestaurantseating out eat (lunch/dinner)/dine/meet at/in a restaurant go (out)/take somebody (out) for lunch/dinner/a meal have a meal with somebody make/have a reservation (in/under the name of Baker) reserve a table for six ask for/request a table for two/a table by the windowin the restaurant wait to be seated show somebody to their table sit in the corner/by the window/at the bar/at the counter hand somebody/give somebody the menu/wine list open/read/study/peruse the menu the restaurant has a three-course set menu/a children's menu/an extensive wine list taste/sample/try the wine the waiter takes your order order/choose/have the soup of the day/one of the specials/the house specialty serve/finish the appetizers/the first course/the main course/dessert/coffee complain about the food/the service/your meal enjoy your mealpaying pay/ask for the check/the bill pay for/treat somebody to dinner/lunch/the meal a gratuity/a service charge is (not) included give somebody/leave (somebody) a tip
  2. 2[countable] the food that is eaten at a meal Enjoy your meal. a three-course meal
  3. 3[uncountable] (often in compounds) grain that has been crushed to produce a powder, used as food for animals and for making flour see also bonemeal, oatmeal
  4. Idioms
    a square meal
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    a good, satisfying meal He looks as though he hasn't had a square meal for weeks.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: meal