Tiffin is an Indian English word for a light midday meal ( luncheon), When used in place of the word "lunch", it does not necessarily mean a light meal. [a]
History [ edit ]
British Raj, where the British custom of afternoon tea was supplanted by the local Indian practice of taking a light meal at that hour, it came to be called tiffin.
South India and in Nepal, tiffin is generally a snack between meals: dosas, idlis, vadas etc. In other parts of India, such as Mumbai, the word mostly refers to a packed lunch of some sort. In Mumbai, it is often forwarded to them by dabbawalas, sometimes known as tiffin wallahs, who use a complex system to get thousands of tiffin-boxes to their destinations.
Tiffin often consists of rice,
dal, curry, vegetables, chapatis or "spicy meats". In addition, the lunch boxes are themselves called tiffin carriers, tiffin-boxes or just tiffins.
See also [ edit ]
^ It is derived from English colloquial or slang tiffing meaning to take a little drink, and had by 1867 become naturalised among Anglo-Indians in the north of British India to mean luncheon. 
^ OED staff 2013, "tiffin, n."cites H. Wedgwood (1862) " Tiffin, now naturalised among Anglo-Indians in the sense of luncheon, is the North country tiffing (properly sipping)". See also Wedgwood 1872, p. 682.
References [ edit ]
Harding, Luke (29 October 2002), "A Bombay lunchbox", The Guardian
Hughes, Martin; Mookherjee, Sheema; Delacy, Richard (2001), India (illustrated ed.), Lonely Planet, p. 25, ISBN 978-1-86450-328-9
Murray, Sarah (2008), Moveable Feasts: From Ancient Rome to the 21st Century, the Incredible Journeys of the Food We Eat (illustrated ed.), Macmillan, pp. 85–108, ISBN 978-0-312-42814-3
OED staff (2013), "tiffin, n.", (online ed.), Oxford English Dictionary Oxford University
Quinion, [Michael (2 September 2006) , , World Wide Words: Tiffin worldwidewords.org , retrieved March 2015
Thakker, Pradip (11 November 2005), , archived from Bombay's amazing dabbawalas the original on 9 February 2008
Wedgwood, H. (1872), A Dictionary of English Etymology (second ed.), p. 682
in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. tiffin