AskDefine | Define menu

Dictionary Definition



1 a list of dishes available at a restaurant; "the menu was in French" [syn: bill of fare, card, carte du jour, carte]
2 the dishes making up a meal
3 (computer science) a list of options available to a computer user [syn: computer menu]
4 an agenda of things to do; "they worked rapidly down the menu of reports" [syn: fare]

User Contributed Dictionary



From French menu.


  • /ˈmɛnju:/


  1. The details of the food to be served at a banquet; a bill of fare.
  2. A printed list of dishes offered in a restaurant.W
  3. A list from which the user may select an operation to be performed, often done with a mouse or other pointing device under a graphical user interface, but usually also controllable from the keyboard.W

Derived terms


details of the food to be served at a banquet
  • Croatian: meni
  • Finnish: menu, ruokalista
  • French: carte, menu
  • German: Menü
  • Greek: εδεσματολόγιο, κατάλογος
  • Italian: carta
  • Japanese: メニュー
  • Portuguese: cardápio, menu
  • Russian: меню (m'en'ú)
  • Serbian: jelovnik
  • Spanish: menú, carta
  • Swedish: meny
printed list of dishes offered in a restaurant
  • Croatian: meni, jelovnik
  • Czech: jídelní lístek
  • Finnish: ruokalista
  • German: Speisekarte
  • Greek: μενού (menoú), κατάλογος (katáloghos), εδεσματολόγιο (edesmatológhio)
  • Japanese: メニュー
  • Russian: меню (m'en'ú)
  • Serbian: jelovnik
list from which the user may select an operation to be performed
  • Croatian: meni, izbornik
  • Czech: nabídka, menu
  • Finnish: menu, valikko
  • German: Menü
  • Greek: μενού (menoú), κατάλογος (katáloghos)
  • Japanese: メニュー
  • Portuguese: menu
  • Russian: меню (m'en'ú)
  • Spanish: menú
  • Swedish: meny

See also



  1. menu

Derived terms



Latin minutus ‘minute, tiny’.


  • /məny/


  1. slim, small, fine
  2. minor, trifling


fr-noun m
  1. detailed list
  2. menu; a set meal on a menu




Extensive Definition

In a restaurant, a menu is a printed brochure or public display that shows the list of options for a diner to select. A menu may be a la carte or table d'hôte.
"Menu" can also be used in a more general sense, as synonymous with diet, the selection of foods available generally to a particular location or culture.


The word menu, like much of the terminology of cuisine, is French in origin. It ultimately derives from Latin minutus, something made small; in French it came to be applied to a detailed list or résumé of any kind. The original menus that offered consumers choices were prepared on a small chalkboard, in French a carte; so foods chosen from a bill of fare are described as à la carte, "according to the board."
The original restaurants had no menus in the modern sense; these table d'hôte establishments served dishes that were chosen by the chef or the proprietors, and those who arrived ate what the house was serving that day, as in contemporary banquets. The contemporary menu first appeared in the second half of the eighteenth century. Here, instead of eating what was being served from a common table, restaurants allowed diners to choose from a list of unseen dishes, which were produced to order by the customer's selection. A table d'hôte establishment charged its customers a fixed price; the menu allowed customers to spend as much or as little money as they chose.

Menu prose

As a form of advertising, the prose found on printed menus is famous for the degree of its puffery. They frequently emphasize the processes used to prepare foods, call attention to exotic ingredients, and add French or other foreign language expressions to make the dishes appear sophisticated and exotic. Part of the function of menu prose is to impress customers with the notion that the dishes served at the restaurant require such skill, equipment, and exotic ingredients that the diners could not prepare similar foods at home.

Specific types of menus


External links

menu in Bulgarian: Меню
menu in German: Speisekarte
menu in Esperanto: manĝokarto
menu in Persian: منو
menu in French: Menu (restauration)
menu in Hebrew: תפריט
menu in Japanese: 献立
menu in Korean: 차림표
menu in Dutch: Menu (restaurant)
menu in Finnish: Ruokalista
menu in Swedish: Restaurangmeny
menu in Chinese: 菜單
menu in Contenese: 餐牌

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

account, agenda, batting order, bill, bill of fare, bill of lading, blueprint, books, budget, calendar, card, carte, carte du jour, docket, invoice, ledger, lineup, list of agenda, manifest, playbill, program, program of operation, programma, prospectus, protocol, roster, schedule, slate, statement
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