WTF is the difference between a lunch and a luncheon? Is the distinction meaningful?

Google defines luncheon as “a midday meal” and lunch as… “a midday meal”.

So let’s try

Luncheon: A lunch, especially a formal one. An afternoon party at which a light meal is served.

Lunch: A meal eaten at midday. The food provided for a midday meal.

Is this really a meaningful distinction? I have noticed that women tend to use the word luncheon, while men tend to prefer to use lunch instead. One might assert that the reason for this is that the women percieve the social event as the important thing, while men see the meal as the defining element.

Furthermore, why the hell is luncheon pronounced the way it is? Shouldn’t it be pronounced “ee-on” like tachyon? Then, you could refer to your crumbs and leftovers as “luncheon particles”… Wouldn’t life be better with luncheon particles?



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