Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Than a Muffin, Less Than a Puffin

A short one for the letter “T” — and one that’s fairly appropriate given the fact that the homonym for this letter.
tiffin (TIF-in) — noun: a light midday meal or snack; a luncheon.
This delight, this word that sounds like exactly what it means, comes to us from The Superior Peron’s Second Book of Weird & Wondrous Words. Though dictionaries identify the word as being chiefly British, the Wikipedia entry for tiffin claims it as being used mostly in southern India, where restaurants sometimes advertise themselves as being “tiffin ready,” which is charming. British or Indian, the term comes from a shortening of the gerund tiffing, from the verb tiff, meaning “to sip” and apparently not the noun meaning “a petty fight.”

There exists a Tiffin University, which tragically does not specialize in training in the preparation of light meals, and a Tiffin, Ohio, which also doesn’t appear to be specifically snack-focused. Something that does appear to be related to the tiffin that is the subject of this post, however, would be the tiffin confection, which consists of biscuits and raisins covered in chocolate.

I enjoy this word, which may be one of the few words of the week so far that I might have reason to actually use, pompous though it may make me sound. And in the spirit of this light meal, I think I’ll end this post sooner rather than later, maybe so you can have time to go enjoy a light meal.

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