The Spanish word merienda is often included in lists of untranslatable words. It originally meant the meal you had around noon between breakfast and dinner, as that meal used to be small compared with the other two. In some parts it is still used with that sense but since the 17th century it is almost always used for the small meal you have between lunch and dinner.
In Spain you usually have lunch around 2:00 PM and dinner around 9:00 PM, so at around 5:30 you need a small meal if you do not want to starve. That small meal is our merienda.
I would like to know if there are or there have been words in English to refer to a similar small meal you have between the main meals. I have looked up the word even in old dictionaries, but I think the translations refer to the old meaning of the word:
- The Spanish-English dictionary by Richard Percyvall from 1591 translates the word as noonemeate (currently noonmeat), but that seems to be a synonym for lunch.
- The Spanish-Latin-English dictionary by Iohannis Minshaei from 1617 translates the word as a Bever. That word is not present in the Oxford dictionary but seems to be related to beverage. Etymonline says its meaning could be "a drinking bout".
- The closest word I can think of is US English snack: "a small amount of food eaten between meals" or "a light meal that is eaten in a hurry or in a casual manner".
So among every word the English language has produced everywhere and at every time, old and new, known or unknown, what would be the closest one to Spanish merienda?