English Idioms

Out at lunch...

Could tell me the difference between "out for lunch" and "out at lunch"?

Thank you!


  • Hi Gee,

    I said "She is out at lunch" at a friend to indicate that my boss was out to have dinner and she laught at me. She said that by saying "She is out at lunch" I was saying that my boss was out of her mind (crazy?). Maybe, in Montréal, Canada, this expression is pejorative. Have you ever heard of that?
  • Could tell me the difference between "out for lunch" and "out at lunch"?

    Thank you!
  • I didn't know that idiom. That proves you were right when you wanted to get in touch with natives.

    If I had been a fan of the French punk rock group from Lyon "Out To Lunch", for sure I would have known.
    I wanted to back your say with some search via a search engine.

    Most dictionaries are defining "out to lunch" this way:
    out of touch, out of touch with reality, crazy, insane or clueless, inattentive or careless, negligent.
    It's idiomatic slang heard in UK, America and Australia.

    I didn't find any dictionary featuring "out AT lunch" but it seems that both are common because there are music groups, jazz slang expression, radio show, cartoons that are entitled Out To Lunch or Out At Lunch.

    Yes indeed, the expression out at lunch may also be used in its literal sense.
    The Robert & Collins is reading (aside from the idiomatic sense): "to be out at lunch" or "to be out to lunch", to be away from office to have lunch; having lunch.
    The same goes with Wiki: (first meaning) out to lunch -> away eating lunch or for a midday break; especially, away from work or job.
    Besides there are some ads and feature articles which use the expression out at lunch in its literal sense.
    Ex. "Stop eating out at lunch and gain financial freedom."

    Thinking about it, Hortence, as your friend laughed at you, you hadn't to blush but rather to reply by pulling faces, because you weren't completely off the mark.
    Thank you for your teaching.
    See you, Tourlou.
  • Just my feeling:

    I'd say "She is out for lunch" if I want to let know that "she has gone out for lunch".

    If I want to let know that she is eating out without pointing at her possible leaving, I could say: "She is out at lunch." (hence she is not in.)

    To my mind, the preposition "for" suggests a purpose or a destination, whereas the preposition "at" points out a location.
    What do you think?

    See you, Tourlou.

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