Lunch/Luncheon

This is a good example of how Cassidy subtly manipulated the evidence to hornswoggle the gullible. He claimed that luncheon comes from lóinte án (elegant food or splendid fare) or lóinfheis án (an elegant, splendid feast of meat). The Irish for lunch is lón, the primary meaning of which is provisions. It wouldn’t normally be put in the plural and anyway, in modern standard Irish the plural would be lónta. The adjective would have to agree with the noun, so it would be ána, not án, though the word án is almost unknown in Irish (though it is a high-frequency word in Cassidese). It goes without saying that there is no reference to lóinfheis án or lónta ána anywhere in any corpus of Irish literature. It is pure Cassidy invention.
Furthermore, Cassidy invites the reader to laugh with him at the whacky opinions of the dictionary dudes who apparently think luncheon derives from Middle English nonechenche. What he chooses not to say is that this is the ultimate source of the word. By the 17th century, this word had developed into the word nuncheon, which can be proven to have existed (unlike lónta ána or lóinte án) and meant a light snack in the afternoon. Nuncheon to luncheon. A mutation of one letter and the exact same meaning. Sounds credible to me – but then I’m neither stupid nor crazy.

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