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

Regional variations[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Elevenses typically consists of tea or coffee, often with a biscuit or cake.[1]

The Netherlands[edit]

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").[2][3]

United States[edit]

During the first decades of the 19th century, elevenses consisted of drinking whiskey.[4]

Spanish-speaking countries[edit]

In many Spanish-speaking cultures, elevenses is observed under the name la once (the eleven in Spanish). However, in some places the time at which it occurs has changed from 11am: in Colombia las onces can be taken at any time of day, and in Chile it has shifted to the afternoon, akin to British "tea time".[5]


In Greek culture, a small break for a snack and usually a beverage is called "δεκατιανό" (dekatiano). Ιt is derived from the number ten ("δέκα" = 10) and the suffix "-ιανό". In Greek "δεκάτη" means the "tenth" (in this case the hour) thus the whole word is "δεκάτη+ιανό" = δεκατ(η+ι)ανό = δεκατιανό, denoting that which happens around 10 am [6]

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,[7] for which Paddington would buy buns and Mr Gruber would make cocoa.

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.[8]

Other uses[edit]

Elevenses is the name of a brand of clothing sold by Anthropologie.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harper, Timothy (1997). Passport United Kingdom: Your Pocket Guide to British Business, Customs and Etiquette. World Trade Press. ISBN 1-885073-28-3. 
  2. ^ Thijs, J. G. A. (1984). Taal ter sprake. Nijgh & Van Ditmar. p. 40. ISBN 9789023655930. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Hoekstra, A. C. ter Horst- (1953). "'t Pistoal: Een Westfriese historie (1870-1878)". De Speelwagen 8 (10): 303–12. 
  4. ^ Pollan, Michael (October 12, 2003). "THE WAY WE LIVE NOW: 10-12-03; The (Agri)Cultural Contradictions Of Obesity". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Collier, Simon (2004). A History of Chile, 1808-2002. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53484-4. 
  6. ^ http://www.lightlife.gr/02-food-nutrition/%CE%BC%CE%B7%CE%BD-%CE%B1%CE%BC%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%B5%CE%AF%CF%84%CE%B5-%CF%84%CE%BF-%CE%B4%CE%B5%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B9%CE%B1%CE%BD%CF%8C-%CF%83%CE%B1%CF%82-%CE%B3%CE%B5%CF%8D%CE%BC%CE%B1/
  7. ^ Bond, Michael (1997). Paddington abroad. London: Collins. p. 14. ISBN 0007402570. 
  8. ^ 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