- lunch (n.) "mid-day repast," 1786, shortened form of LUNCHEON (Cf. luncheon) (q.v.). The verb meaning "to take to lunch" (said to be from the noun) also is attested from 1786:PRATTLE. I always to be Еїure, makes a point to keep up the dignity of the family I lives in. Wou'd you take a more Еїolid refreЕїhment?--Have you lunch'd, Mr. Bribe?BRIBE. Lunch'd O dear! Permit me, my dear Mrs. Prattle, to refreЕїh my sponge, upon the honey dew that clings to your raviЕїhing pouters. O! Mrs. Prattle, this Еїhall be my lunch. (kiЕїЕїes)["The Mode," in William Davies' "Plays Written for a Private Theatre," London, 1786]But as late as 1817 the only definition of lunch in Webster's is "a large piece of food." OED says in 1820s the word "was regarded either as a vulgarism, or as a fashionable affectation." Related: Lunched; lunching. Lunch money is attested from 1868; lunch-time (n.) is from 1821; lunch hour is from 1840. Slang phrase out to lunch "insane, stupid, clueless" first recorded 1955, on notion of being "not there." Old English had nonmete "afternoon meal," lit. "noon-meat."
Etymology dictionary. 2014.