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[ben-toh; Japanese ben-taw] /ˈbɛn toʊ; Japanese ˈbɛn tɔ/
noun, plural bentos; Japanese, bento. Japanese Cookery.
a meal, usually served in a lacquered or elaborately decorated box that is divided into sections for holding individual portions of food.
Also called obento.
Origin of bento
< Japanese bentō, probably < Middle Chinese, equivalent to Chinese bān manage, provide + dāng apply, i.e., provision for an eat-out meal Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bento
Historical Examples
  • For example, in the ordinary 25-sen bento (lunch) box there are three or four different kinds of pickles.

    The Foundations of Japan J.W. Robertson Scott
  • All the same, after two days he bids his wife get out his best hakama and haouri, and to make up his bento for a journey.

    Japanese Fairy Tales Grace James
  • While Father bento de Matos was in that island, two remarkable things occurred to him.

  • About this time several windows in the car went up, and many voices took up the cry of "bento."

    The Honorable Percival Alice Hegan Rice
  • On the railway one is well catered for by the provision of bento (lunch) boxes, sold on the platforms of stations.

    The Foundations of Japan J.W. Robertson Scott
  • I sat down in the tea-house on the soft mats, and my bento—Japanese lunch—was served to me on a tiny table.

    Alone with the Hairy Ainu A. H. Savage Landor
British Dictionary definitions for bento


noun (pl) -tos
a thin box, made of plastic or lacquered wood, divided into compartments which contain small separate dishes comprising a Japanese meal, esp lunch
Word Origin
Japanese bentō box lunch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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