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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

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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
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Precisely.

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
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