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A Japanese box lunch, traditionally packed in a partitioned lacquered box and sometimes artfully arranged to resemble familiar characters, animals, or objects.
[Japanese bentō, from late colloquial Middle Chinese pɦjian`taŋ, convenient (also the source of Mandarin biàndāng) : Middle Chinese pɦjian`, convenient (from Old Chinese *bens) + Middle Chinese taŋ, to match, correspond, be capable (from Old Chinese *tâŋ; perhaps akin to Tibetan taṅ, with, together with, and).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
n, 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. Also called: obento
[Japanese bentō box lunch]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014