Friday, April 11, 2008


Stay tuned for more updates -- if yesterday's weather was an indication of what is to come, the first picnic will take place on a beautiful day. In the meantime, consider the following.


Your Hosts,

Allison and Michael, Founding Members of The Picnic Club

The first usage of the word is traced to the 1692 edition of Origines de la Langue Française de Ménage—which mentions 'pique-nique' as being of recent origin; it marks the first appearance of the word in print. The term was used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. For long a picnic retained the connotation of a meal to which everyone contributed something. Whether picnic is actually based on the verb piquer which means 'pick' or 'peck' with the rhyming nique meaning "thing of little importance" is doubted; the Oxford English Dictionary says it is of unknown provenance.

The word picnic first appeared in English texts in 1748 OED, and may have entered the English language from this French word or from the German Picknick, which may simply be a parallel borrowing from French. The practice of an elegant meal eaten out-of-doors, rather than a harvester's dinner in the field, was connected with respite from hunting from the Middle Ages; the excuse for the pleasurable outing of 1723 in Lemoyne's painting (illustration, left) is still offered in the context of a hunt.

In the late 1990s an e-mail hoax spread around the internet claiming that the word "picnic" was actually derived from racist term for a lynching. This claim had no basis in fact. See: Urban Legend reference page (Source: Wikipedia)

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