This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Word To Use Today: tiffin.

Here's something sustaining to help us through to the end of the week.

So what is tiffin, exactly? Well, that depends on where it is.

Tiffin in northern India is traditionally a light meal, especially one taken at midday.

(Yes, most of us would call that lunch, but lunch is a hasty gulp of a word whereas tiffin is a light popping-in-of-morsels, a nibbling of delicious tidbits.)

If you're in Southern India, however, then tiffin is probably a between-meals snack, especially something offered to visitors by Tamils.

On the other hand if you're in Mumbai then tiffin is a packed lunch, which might be delivered by a tiffin wallah in a container called a tiffin:

In Britain nowadays, though, tiffin is usually a cake. It's basically a mixture of biscuit crumbs (that's the crumbs from a British biscuit....something like a US graham cracker, I think) stuck together with syrup, and with a layer of chocolate on top.

I'm afraid that despite the name this sort of tiffin is so lacking in lightness that its other name is chocolate concrete.

Still, sustaining, though.

Word To Use Today: tiffin. This word first appeared in English in the 1700s, and probably comes from the sadly now disused tigging, which comes from tiff, which means to sip.

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