These words tell a tale; both mean food in general. The
Italians and Asiatics eat little animal food, and with them the wordbread stands for food; so also with the poor, whose chief diet it
is; but the English consume meat very plentifully, and this word, which
simply means food, almost exclusively implies animal food. In the
banquet given to Joseph's brethren, the viceroy commanded the servants
“to set on bread” (Genesis xliii. 3l). In Psalm civ. 27 it is said “of
fishes, creeping things, and crocodiles, that God giveth them their
meat in due season.”
To carry off meat from the graves
- i.e. to be poor as a church mouse. The Greeks and Romans used to make
feasts at certain seasons, when the dead were supposed to return to
their graves. In these feasts the fragments were left on the tombs for
the use of the ghosts.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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