This word is spectacular in its history!  Narrowly, the edible bit of the grain, the word comes ultimately from an IndoEuropean root which means something like “whirl” – as in meal that has been ground up by a mill.  “Meal” as a more general word for food, the “meal” that I am eating at this sitting, is the contrast word to “malt”, the beverage.

And Gollum?  Yes, he says “meal” in 05.055, in the now rare meaning of any powder produced by grinding.  We have a new word for the “archaic” tag!

  • 02.027 except of course when they stopped for meals.
  • 02.033 (who shared the hobbit’s views about regular meals,
  • 05.002 for he could feel inside that it was high time for some meal or other;
  • 05.055 Grinds hard stones to meal;
  • 06.035 he had not had a meal since the night before the night before last.
  • 07.129 and after the meal they mounted the steeds he was lending them,
  • 09.022 The evening meal had been taken
  • 10.011 that he had had at least one good meal
  • 12.060 in return for the excellent meal
  • 13.052 is the safest place for a meal.
  • 13.056 and other meals,

“meal, n.1.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2016. Web. 12 May 2016.

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