In Spanish, how do you say “lunch”?
My two cents are based on Mexican culture.
There is no literal translation for “lunch” because traditionally, in Mexico, there is no such thing.
In the morning everyone starts out with breakfast, or “desayuno”.
If it is late breakfast that can be best classified as “brunch” then it is an “almuerzo”.
Note that hungry people may have a breakfast and brunch.
Then, roughly around 2 – 3 PM comes the main meal, known as the “comida”.
Then finally, toward the evening, there is another meal (which may or may not be light) called the “cena” or “merienda”.
This tradition fits nicely with the typical work day.
Unlike other countries that do a 9 to 5 work day, Mexico’s work day is traditionally from 9 (or 9:30) AM to 2 (or 2:30) PM.
Then comes time for the “comida” which may be 1:30 to 2 hours long.
People return to work somewhere around 4 to 4:30 PM and end their work day around 7 or 8 PM.
Then it is time for the “cena”.
Of course Mexico’s culture is dynamic and has undergone changes.
It isn’t unusual to see 9 to 5 workdays with a half-hour lunch.
Instead of making up a new Spanish word for “lunch”, its English version is used calling this time period simply “lonche” (pronounced lawn-chay).
Of course cultures other than Mexican may have their own eating schedules and words to describe the above.
If fact, even in Mexico, this may vary by region :-).
In Costa Rica, where I live, Lunch is called ALMUERZO (caps used only for the word to stand out).
It usually takes place around midday, and it is when we have our main meal.
Some years ago, people used to go home during their lunch break to have their “almuerzo” at home.
Nowadays, with little time for lunch and long distances between work and home, we have opted to either buy our lunch at a cafeteria (most big workplaces have their own) or bring lunch from home in small containers in a lunchbox .
A typical Costa Rican lunch will usually include a salad, some meat (beef, chicken, fish, or pork), rice, beans, a vegetable “picadillo” (diced vegetables stewed with or without ground beef), a glass of fruit juice (called “fresco”) and a cup of coffee.
It can also include fried plantain pieces.
If you visit our country and want to try one of these typical lunches, I suggest that you go to small cafeterias (called “sodas”) and ask for a “casado”.
They are usually very reasonably priced.
Ever wondered when Spaniards eat breakfast? And what about lunch or dinner? Spanish mealtimes are confusing, but Amy breaks it down for us, ensuring youll know exactly when (and what!) to eat in Spain.
Conversational in 138 words:
In Spain, the 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM meal is formerly called “la hora de comer” or more commonly, “la comida”.
That’s right…that literally means “the food”.
It’s the biggest, most important meal of the day, aka time to GRUB.
If you learned in Spanish class that lunch is “almuerzo”, learn again: almuerzo actually refers to the mid-morning 11 – 12pm snack!
Here in Madrid the word is Comida.
However, be careful, because “to have lunch” is “comer”, but “to eat” is also “comer”, and “comida” is “lunch” but also “food” in general.
So, if someone asks you “A que hora comes?” this would be “What time do you have lunch?” But “Que comes?” “What are you eating?”.
Also, “A que hora es la comida?” “What time is lunch?” But “Donde esta la comida?” “Where is the food?”.
(excuse the lack of accents, my keyboard is English…lol)
The spanish word for lunch is “almuerzo”.
Some people say this word appeared during the Arabic domination in Spain where they mixed the arabic prefix “al” with the spanish word “morder” (to bite), but academic people say it comes from the latin word admordium (an inflection of the latin verb admordere) and it means “to bite something”, what it seems to be a common expression of that time.
Lunch: “Almuerzo”, though it is not strictly the same kind of meal as lunch is in North America.
In mediterranean cultures we usually have “almuerzo” as a second breakfast, somewhere between 9 and 11 am.
“Desayuno” is usually a light meal taken early in the morning before leaving home to do our cores.
Later on we have “comida”, which is a more complete meal, perhaps resembling more what “dinner” is to Northern cultures.
Some people may have it in early evening.
In Puerto Rico we just use almuerzo when referring to lunch.
Breakfast is desayuno, merienda is a snack and cena o comida is dinner.
There can be many variations depending on the country and/or region; however the two standard words, according to the dictionary, are almuerzo and comida.
I suggest that if you visit a Spanish speaking country, depending on the country you want to visit ask the locals how they say it to avoid any confusions.
But if you ever happen to visit Puerto Rico and want to grab some lunch, go for almuerzo.
Hope I was helpful!
But I think you could have easily used an online dictionary.