A restaurant offers "Takeout or Pickup" and it appears the difference is that takeout are orders placed onsite to be consumed offsite, and pickup are orders placed offsite that are retrieved from restaurant to be consumed offsite; delivery being orders that are both orders and consumed offsite? Is this correct, what is the history of the use of these terms?

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    'Takeout' / 'take-away' are certainly correct and are established and logically constructed descriptors. While 'pick-up' is obviously also logically constructed, and has accepted and sometimes related roles, I wouldn't say that it is a generally accepted descriptor in the sense you mention. It might even be in-house (which doesn't make it 'incorrect'). I'd ask at the restaurant. – Edwin Ashworth May 3 '14 at 14:59
  • +1 @EdwinAshworth: [...] "I'd a̶s̶k̶ ̶a̶t̶ [call] the restaurant." (Guessing the restaurant won't be able to answer the etymology of the two terms.) – blunders May 3 '14 at 15:19
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    The way I've seen these terms used generally, takeout/takeaway are used as the opposite of eat in (e.g. at a cafe/restaurant). Pickup is used as the opposite of Delivery (e.g. at pizza places). That's why the combination "Takeout or Pickup" seems a bit strange to me, although I would probably understand it in the same way you have. – Jeffrey Kemp May 5 '14 at 7:28
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    Please put answers in the answer box instead of as comments, so the question no longer shows up as "unanswered". Thank you. – joseph_morris May 9 '14 at 1:56
  • Dont forget carryout orders. – tchrist May 10 '14 at 12:51

The words are used in different contexts.

When you call in an order by phone, it's clear that the food will be consumed offsite. However, the restaurant needs to know whether you will pick it up yourself (pickup) or you want them to deliver it to you (delivery).

When you place the order at the counter, delivery is not a possibility. In that situation, they need to know whether they should serve it on a plate so you can eat it in the restaurant (eat-in) or package it so you can take it out of the restaurant (takeout).

When explained this way, the origins of the terms become fairly obvious. They're just abbreviated forms of the actions that will be formed.

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