A meal taken in company of others.

The word banquet literally means a little bench, and in fact a banquet was originally a small snack eaten while sitting on a low bench, a snack that escalated, over centuries, into the elaborate series of dishes that the word banquet now signifies. Ultimately, banquet traces its origin all the way back to a Germanic source pronounced something like bangk. In French, this Germanic source developed into bane, meaning bench, which led to the diminutive form banquet, adopted into English at the end of the fifteenth century. The Germanic bangk also took many other lines of development: for instance, it became the English word bench, first recorded in Old English a thousand years ago; via Old Norse, the Germanic bangk also became bank, as in river bank, a topographical feature that rises along a river like a bench; and via French, bangk even became bank, as in Bank of Canada, banks having originated as mere benches set between the borrower and the lender. Banquet is related to all these words, and also to one more: the term bantling, meaning bratty child, comes from the German word bankling, which denoted a child supposedly conceived on a bench—in other words, a bastard.