A coworker recently taught me a Spanish word, sobremesa, to describe the time spent at the table after a meal, relaxing with one's companions.

Do we have a single word or stock phrase to describe this in English? If not, can we coin a very good one?

  • See the related word tertulia, which is kinda like the same thing without the food; that is, getting together with people just to hang out, chat, and pass the time pleasantly.
    – tchrist
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 23:00

2 Answers 2


The phrase I have heard and used is the post-prandial pause.

  • And in accordance with the lack of importance of the concept in English speaking culture, it is not a particularly common term.
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 22:31
  • 2
    @Mitch: Perhaps we in different worlds. Admittedly, "post-prandial pauses" may not be as common as "post-prandial cigarettes", "post-prandial lie-downs", and such. But "post-prandial [anything]" would be commonly understood in my area. Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 23:02
  • @FumbleFingers: to just 'post-prandial' you are probably right, -very- different worlds (AmE). If understood at all, it would immediately mark the user as very erudite, a Jeevesian or SAT word.
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 1:32
  • 1
    @Mitch: I can't see any evidence in NGrams for it being particularly British, but it wouldn't have occurred to me it was particularly "upmarket" either. Except if someone asked me after dinner if I wanted a "postprandial" without specifying exactly what. Then I'd assume I was mixing with a higher class of people than I normally do, and that I was being offered a glass of fine cognac! Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 1:40
  • 1
    Post-prandial, at least in my social circle, wouldn't come across as either erudite or affected, as much as goofy - a verbal joke of sorts. Somebody being clever.
    – Ryan Haber
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 15:19

Table talk? After-dinner discourse?

I think American families in general are not eating meals together like we used to, maybe not enough to need a word like sobremasa. I thought this translation of sobremesa was interesting.

SOBREMESA -- After the main meal of the day, which usually takes place at around 2 or 3 p.m., the Spanish often linger on at table drinking coffee and/or liqueurs and chatting, playing cards or watching TV before returning to work later in the afternoon. While estar de sobremesa is also occasionally applied to the period after the evening meal, it is more usually taken to mean after lunch, and the sobremesa time band used in TV programme listings applies only to between 2.00 and 5.00 p.m.

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