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What is the difference between lunch and luncheon? Is it just American spelling vs British spelling, or do they have some sort of formal/professional touch to them, say, a casual midday meal with friends is called lunch while that with your colleagues/business clients is called luncheon?

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closed as general reference by Hugo, onomatomaniak, kiamlaluno, JSBձոգչ, Jasper Loy Dec 7 '11 at 17:23

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Yes, though "luncheon" would be considered rather posh by today's standards. It's practically an archaic term in most areas of England. – Polynomial Dec 7 '11 at 6:47
up vote 4 down vote accepted


luncheon: a light meal of more formal character usually for a group of people in a public dining room (as at a club meeting or a business meeting)

lunch: a: a light meal usually in the middle of the day : LUNCHEON b : a light meal taken at any time of the day or night at a selected place

[Merriam-Webster Unabridged]

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source, pl.? (I could Google backwards, though.) – Kris Dec 7 '11 at 9:43
Also, you can "have lunch" but not "have luncheon"; "luncheon" takes a determiner. – Monica Cellio Dec 7 '11 at 15:58
Why does the definition of lunch have a different definition of luncheon than the actual entry for luncheon? Is that just an editing mistake ? – gman Jan 18 at 5:24

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