Lunching Out: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
August 29, 2023

Every language is filled with idioms that make the language more colorful and expressive. One such idiom is "lunching out". This phrase has a fascinating history and usage in modern English. It often refers to backing out of a commitment or failing to follow through with something.

In short:

  • "Lunching Out" refers to backing out from a commitment or failing to do something you promised.

What Does “Lunching Out” Mean?

The idiom "lunching out" has various meanings and usages. Let's explore them:

  • It often means backing out of a commitment or being unreliable.
  • In some contexts, it can refer to being distracted or losing focus on a task.
  • It can also imply a lack of courage or determination to follow through with something.

Thematic variations of this idiom can be found in different cultures, yet the core idea remains the same: a failure to keep a promise or uphold a responsibility.

Where Does “Lunching Out” Come From?

The origin of "lunching out" is believed to be from the mid-20th century. While the exact origin is not well-documented, some historians point to the casual nature of lunch breaks, where commitments are often made but not always kept.

"I'll do it after lunch," was a common saying, and it eventually evolved into accusing someone of "lunching out" if they failed to follow through.

Historical Usage

  • During the Beatnik Era (1950s), Writers and artists used "lunching out" to describe individuals who failed to challenge societal norms or gave in to conventional thinking.
  • In Sports Journalism (1960s): Journalists utilized the term to describe an athlete or a team that didn't meet expectations or backed away from a challenge.
  • Corporate Culture (1970s): Business professionals used the slang "lunching out" to point out colleagues who failed to complete projects or tasks.
  • Tech Industry (1990s): During the tech boom, people frequently used this phrase to pinpoint companies or developers that failed to innovate or keep up with the fast-changing technology trends.

The rise of workplace culture made this term more widespread, and people continue to use it today.

10 Examples of “Lunching Out” in Sentences

Here are some examples of how "lunching out" can be used in different sentences:

  • He promised to help me move, but he ended up 'lunching out' at the last minute.
  • I was counting on her, but she 'lunched out' and didn’t show up for the meeting.
  • Don’t 'lunch out' on me now; we are almost finished with the project.
  • If you 'lunch out' on this opportunity, you might regret it later.
  • They 'lunched out' of the deal, leaving us stranded.
  • Swipe right if you are committed; we don't want anyone 'lunching out'.
  • When it comes to studying, he always 'lunched out' and surfed the net instead.
  • What are the odds of her 'lunching out' on us again?
  • Despite his promises, he 'lunched out' and didn’t complete the work on time.
  • Tom's habit of 'lunching out' on commitments never fails to rile up his friends, causing tension in their relationships.

Different contexts and situations, along with various pronouns and perspectives, allow for the use of "lunching out."

Examples of “Lunching Out” in Pop Culture

The phrase "lunching out" has made several appearances in popular culture:

  • The Commitments use the phrase "don't lunch out" in their song to convey the message of staying true to oneself.
  • The TV show "Workplace Wonders" featured an episode titled "Lunching Out" highlighting office dynamics.
  • An editorial in "Business Weekly" used the idiom to describe a company's failure to uphold its corporate responsibility.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say “Lunching Out"

  • 'Backing Out': She backed out of the agreement at the last moment, leaving us in a difficult position.
  • 'Reneging': He reneged on his promise to volunteer for the weekend event.
  • 'Bailing': They bailed on the party, so we had to make last-minute adjustments.
  • 'Failing': She failed to meet her commitments, causing delays in the project.
  • 'Chickening Out': He chickened out of the speech, making someone else take his place.
  • 'Dropping the Ball': They dropped the ball on the marketing campaign, resulting in lost opportunities.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “Lunching Out”

  • What does “lunching out” mean?

"Lunching Out" refers to the act of failing to fulfill a commitment or backing out of a situation. People often use this term to express disappointment when someone does not follow through on a promise or agreement.

  • Where did the phrase “lunching out” originate?

Historians trace the origin of "lunching out" to the casual nature of lunch breaks where people commonly made but failed to keep commitments. The phrase has evolved over time and found its way into different cultures and contexts, reflecting a universal concept of unreliability or failure to act.

  • How is “lunching out” used in a sentence?

You can use "lunching out" to describe someone's failure to meet a commitment. For example, if someone promised to attend a meeting but didn't show up, you might say, "He lunched out on the meeting."

  • Is “lunching out” considered formal or informal?

"Lunching out" is generally an informal term. People mostly use it in casual conversations or informal writing. You might not find it in formal documents or professional communications.

  • Is it possible to use "lunching out" in a positive context?

Typically, "lunching out" carries a negative connotation. It refers to a failure or backing out, so it's usually not used in a positive context.

  • Is “lunching out” a regional expression?

"Lunching out" is not limited to any specific region. English speakers across different countries and cultures understand and use this term.

  • What are some synonyms for “lunching out”?

There are several synonyms for "lunching out," such as backing out, reneging, bailing, failing, chickening out, and dropping the ball. Each of these terms can convey a similar meaning of failing to meet a commitment.

  • Is “lunching out” offensive?

"Lunching out" is not considered offensive, but depending on the context, some might find it impolite. It's best to know your audience and choose your words accordingly.

  • In what ways do professionals use "lunching out" in a work setting?

In a professional setting, you might use "lunching out" to describe someone's failure to meet a work-related commitment or expectation. It's more common in informal conversations among colleagues.

  • Is "lunching out" used in writing?

Yes, writers use "lunching out" in informal writing, dialogues, and casual communications. You might find it in fiction, blog posts, or social media.

  • How did "lunching out" evolve through history?

"Lunching out" has a rich history and has been used across different eras and contexts. From the Beatnik Era to corporate culture, this phrase has continually reflected a failure to keep commitments or meet expectations.

  • Does "lunching out" describe organizations or only individuals?

"Lunching out" applies to both individuals and organizations. Whether it's a person failing to meet a personal commitment or an organization failing to uphold a promise, this term effectively conveys the failure to act.

Final Thoughts About “Lunching Out”

Idioms like "lunching out" enrich the English language, allowing speakers to express a specific idea in a colorful and engaging way.

  • It encapsulates the idea of failing to follow through on a commitment or promise.
  • The phrase has widespread usage in both speech and writing.
  • Its origins trace back to the casual nature of lunch breaks, but it has since expanded into various aspects of culture and everyday language.

This idiom serves as a reminder of the importance of keeping one's word and the social expectations around reliability. Whether you're making a casual promise or a serious commitment, remember, no one likes it when someone "lunches out".

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