mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 31 16:10:10 EDT 2019
The OED and the Lexico (https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/tiffin <https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/tiffin>) say that “tiffin” is used as a modifier in compounds such as “tiffin carrier”. Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tiffin <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tiffin>) also has the compound “tiffin boxes” in citations.
Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tiffin <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tiffin>) says “tiffin” by itself can mean a “tiffin container”, and the BBC today has an article that talks about a restaurateur who switched from plastic to “tiffins”:
The takeaway owner fighting plastic waste with tiffins
The tiffins displayed in the BBC video are metal containers that fit together with locking straps, the same sort of container shown at https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/248331366925162492 <https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/248331366925162492>. Google Images shows such locking sets of containers are common for “tiffin”. I don’t have a word for them; “locking dim sum containers” seems like a reasonable description.
When referring to food, the OED and Lexico says a tiffin must be a snack or light meal, but according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiffin <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiffin>), that is not necessarily the case in “certain parts of India” where it does not have to be a light meal. According to Rahul Verma (https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/tea-tattle-and-toast-the-charm-of-an-indian-tiffin/article28794101.ece <https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/tea-tattle-and-toast-the-charm-of-an-indian-tiffin/article28794101.ece>), “… in some quarters, it is just another word for a meal.”
Benjamin Barrett (he/his/him)
Formerly of Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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