Antedating of "Brunch"

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Mar 10 17:46:50 UTC 2013

The OED's first citation for "brunch" is dated 1896, and refers to a coinage a year before in an article in Hunter's Weekly.  Many sources say that the 1895 Hunter's Weekly article was "Brunch: A Plea" by Guy Beringer, but no one seems to give a precise citation.  Beringer is said to have written:

"Instead of England’s early Sunday dinner, a post-church ordeal of heavy meats and savory pies, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee . . . By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers."

Another interesting point about the OED's treatment of the word is that it lists the 1896 citation under "brunch" as a noun, although the text in the citation appears to be using the word as a verb.

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

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