elevenses

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A cup of tea and a scone would be nice for elevenses

From dialectal elevens (the eleven-o'clock meal).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

elevenses (usually uncountable, plural elevenses)

  1. (Britain, informal) A short mid-morning break taken around eleven o'clock for a drink or light snack.
    Synonym: elevensies (one sense)
    • 1837 February, Anna Lee, “The Pinch of Salt”, in The Ladies’ Companion: A Monthly Magazine, Embracing Literature and the Arts, [], volume VI, New York, N.Y.: Published by William W. Snowdon, OCLC 6444302, page 162, column 2:
      The harvestmen who board in the farm-houses fare sumptuously during the month of harvest.— [] at eleven o'clock in the morning, and four in the afternoon, they have each a large light plum-bun, with a pint of ale a piece, carried into the field, to encourage them to work cheerfully. These extra refreshments they call, in their provincial language, their "elevenses" and "fourses." I could not at first imagine what the servants meant by talking of carrying the harvestmen their elevenses and fourses, till Mrs. Henley explained that it was a vulgar abbreviation of the four-o'clock and eleven o'clock meals.
    • 1989, Khushwant Singh, “Man, How the Government of India Run!”, in The Collected Short Stories of Khushwant Singh, New Delhi: Ravi Dayal Publisher, →ISBN, page 96; republished as “Book Extract: They also Serve …”, in Sunday, volume 18, number 4, Calcutta: Ananda Bazar Patrika, 2 January – 2 February 1991, OCLC 9353987, pages 75–76:
      "In Europe," said Ghosh Babu who read a great deal, "they all stop work at eleven to have tea or coffee or cocoa, or some stronger beverage; they call it elevenses." / [] ["]Ghosh Babu, how long time they get for elevenses?" / "About half-an-hour," replied Ghosh with authority. [] / "We get no time off for elevenses," complained Sambamurthy. "We should bring it up before the Clerks' Association."
    • 2010, Simon Majumdar, “Elevenses”, in Eating for Britain: A Journey into the Heart (and Belly) of the Nation, London: John Murray, →ISBN:
      Even in these tough economic times when many employers seem hell-bent on sucking any and all vestiges of pleasure out of the daily existence of the average working stiff, some things remain sacrosanct. Chief among them is the partaking of elevenses. Even if we spend the majority of our lives glued to a desk, staring at a computer screen or in meetings pretending we care about the interpretation of a spreadsheet, the break for a hot drink and a little snackette between breakfast and lunch is a covenant between Britain and God.

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