Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Chiefly British A meal at midday; a luncheon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A light midday meal or snack; luncheon

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A lunch, or slight repast between breakfast and dinner; -- originally, a Provincial English word, but introduced into India, and brought back to England in a special sense.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lunch; take tiffin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a midday meal

Etymologies

Short for tiffing, gerund of tiff, to sip.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Indian (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mr. Shinde says the restaurant no longer users the stainless-steel containers of the its namesake — "tiffin" is the container, and "wallah" the delivery guy — but lunch still arrives compartmentalized, and cheap.

    Indian, Veggie, Kosher

  • AS THE menu says, the word tiffin harks back to the 19th century and the days of British rule in India.

    The Daily Record - Home

  • My M-W#11 says "(1800) chiefly Brit: a light midday meal: LUNCHEON" -- the people in India who deliver lunches to office workers (lunches prepared by their old mamas etc.), aren't they called tiffin wallahs or something Colonel Blimpish like that?

    Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium - Recent changes [en]

  • "General, your tiffin was a beauty, but your Camp -- was very sad!"

    The Petticoat Commando Boer Women in Secret Service

  • Two minutes later the girls, Ned, and Dick came into the dining-room, and the party sat down to luncheon -- a meal always called tiffin in India.

    In Times of Peril

  • "tiffin" -- Burleigh being very Indianized, and a guest always welcome; indeed, so Indianized is it, so populous in jaundiced cheek and ailing livers, that you may openly assert, without fear of being misunderstood

    The Complete Prose Works of Martin Farquhar Tupper

  • - usually stainless steel, aluminum, or tin - called tiffin boxes.

    AboutMyPlanet.com

  • A few emails to Indian friends turned up "tiffin" services in Hong Kong.

    An Old Indian Lunch Service Hits New Shores

  • The favorite meal for everyone was tea-time (4pm-6pm) called "tiffin" when we were served tea and a snack.

    Archive 2005-08-01

  • The dâk bungalow of Uri, white and clean, was most attractive, and I should imagine the place to be charming in summer, but as yet the short crisp turf is still brown from recent snow, and although hot in the sun, which now began to shine steadily, it was extremely cold in the shade, while lunch (or should I say "tiffin"?) was being got ready.

    A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

Comments

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  • "Even offering a gentleman caller refreshment was out of the question as it was considered 'an act of glaring impropriety in a lady to invite any gentleman to stay and partake of tiffin who is not either a relative or an intimate friend of the family'."
    —Annabel Venning, Following the Drum: The Lives of Army Wives and Daughters Past and Present (London: Headline, 2005), 55–56

    May 5, 2010

  • Originally, in England, eating and drinking between meals.
    (v.i.): to take tiffin.

    January 9, 2009

  • Cadbury's have a brand called tiffins. great chocolates they make.

    December 16, 2007

  • from tiffing. now Indian for a late-afternoon snack

    December 16, 2007