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Elevenses (pronunciation: /ˈlɛvənzz/) is a short break taken at around 11 a.m. to consume a drink or snack of some sort. The name and details vary between countries.

Regional variations[edit]

Australia and New Zealand[edit]

In Australia and New Zealand elevenses is known as 'morning tea', and can occur at any point between the start of the working day and lunchtime. Many workplaces organise morning teas for staff to welcome new employees, for special occasions such as a birthday, or simply as a regular event. Food will sometimes be provided by the business, but often employees will be expected to bring food to share.[1][2]


In many Spanish-speaking cultures, elevenses is observed under the name la once (the eleven in Spanish). However, in Chile it has shifted to the afternoon.[3]


In West Friesland country people had a similar meal called "konkelstik" (served at "konkeltoid", the proper time for "konkelen", a verb denoting "making a visit").[4][5]

United Kingdom[edit]

Elevenses typically consists of tea or coffee, often with a biscuit.[6]

United States[edit]

During the first decades of the 19th century, elevenses consisted of drinking whiskey.[7]


In Israel it called "ארוחת עשר" (Hebrew: "10 o'clock meal"), mostly eaten at schools & kindergartens in the form of homemade sandwiches, often accompanied with a fruit or other snack, after the second hour of the schoolday & before the big break. It also occurs in major unionized workplaces, such as factories & customer services reception centres, where workers are handed tea.

In literature[edit]

For elevenses, Winnie-the-Pooh preferred honey on bread with condensed milk. Paddington Bear often took elevenses at the antique shop on Portobello Road run by his friend Mr Gruber,[8] for which Paddington would buy buns and Mr Gruber would make cocoa (hot chocolate).

In the Middle-earth stories by J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings), it is a meal eaten by Hobbits between second breakfast and luncheon.[9]

Other uses[edit]

Elevenses is the name of a brand of clothing sold by Anthropologie.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The cheats' guide to morning teas". Stuff.co.nz. 
  2. ^ "Like a boss: 10 terrific ideas for your office morning tea". Food Daily. 
  3. ^ Collier, Simon (2004). A History of Chile, 1808-2002. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53484-4. 
  4. ^ Thijs, J. G. A. (1984). Taal ter sprake (in Dutch). Nijgh & Van Ditmar. p. 40. ISBN 9789023655930. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  5. ^ ter Horst-Hoekstra, A. C. (1953). "'t Pistoal: Een Westfriese historie (1870-1878)". De Speelwagen (in Dutch). 8 (10): 303–12. 
  6. ^ Harper, Timothy (1997). Passport United Kingdom: Your Pocket Guide to British Business, Customs and Etiquette. World Trade Press. ISBN 1-885073-28-3. 
  7. ^ Pollan, Michael (October 12, 2003). "THE WAY WE LIVE NOW: 10-12-03; The (Agri)Cultural Contradictions Of Obesity". The New York Times Magazine. 
  8. ^ Bond, Michael (1997). Paddington abroad. London: Collins. p. 14. ISBN 0007402570. 
  9. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), Chapter 1: A Long-Expected Party, ISBN 0-395-08254-4 

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of elevensies at Wiktionary