A luncheon is lunch, but more formal. You might be served watercress sandwiches and fruit salad at a book club luncheon, while plain old lunch might be burgers and fries at the diner.

The word luncheon makes its first appearance in English in the late 1500s, in phrases like "a luncheon of bread and cheese." Originally it meant "a thick piece, a hunk" — like a big chunk of bread slathered with cheese. The word may have come from the Spanish lonja, "slice." By the early 19th century, luncheon had taken the formal route, and its abbreviated form, lunch, came to mean the more casual version of the midday meal.

Definitions of luncheon
  1. noun
    a midday meal
    synonyms: dejeuner, lunch, tiffin
    see moresee less
    business lunch
    lunch (usually at a restaurant) where business is discussed and the cost is charged as a business expense
    type of:
    meal, repast
    the food served and eaten at one time
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week