Thursday, February 19, 2009


postprandial [pōst-PRAN-dē-əl]
adj. after a meal, esp. after dinner

[From Latin post ("after") + prandium ("meal")]

In olden times, my sense is that there were more ritualized activities before and after a feast. One of those involved men going off to smoke postprandial cigars, while their wives did whatever the hell it is women do -- yack? -- after eating. Maybe that explains why postprandial is no longer a common word. Instead of a large gathering of family and friends at meal time, now people eat by themselves as they watch TV and smoking cigars is considered insalubrious ("not healthy").

In Theodore Rex, Edmund Morris describes Teddy Roosevelt's postprandial activity at a Governor's Conference dealing with environmental protection:
It was the duty of the Governor's Conference, (Roosevelt) said, to formulate a national philosophy of conservation based on efficient use of finite resources and scientific management of renewable ones. ... He stayed with (the governors) through Andrew Carnegie's postprandial paper on the conservation of ore.

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