Having missed breakfast we turned eagerly to lunch,breaking out peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and cookies.

There are two phrases I don't understand clearly.

(1) Does the phrase breaking out mean taking out and ate?

(2) What does the phrase turned to lunch mean? Does it mean we ran to the cafeteria, we started our lunch time or we took out the lunch box? Could you help me clarify it? Thanks.

3 Answers 3


to break out (v): 7. To present something for use, especially something that had been stored out of sight or concealed.

In this context "break out" means to take out the food that had been stored somewhere (presumably in lunch boxes or come other container). By itself it doesn't mean "to eat", and it doesn't have to be used only for food:

We walked all day, following the map to where the treasure was hid. Arriving at the spot, we broke out the shovels and picks and proceeded to dig.

Similarly, "turn to" has multiple meanings. In this case, the closest is:

turn to (v): 4. To devote or apply someone or something to someone or something.

In this context it's short for "turn our attention to", meaning we focused on eating lunch. Again, nothing in the verb explains how we got lunch, only that lunch was the objective.


To break out food items means to take them out of their storage places and containers to make them available to be eaten.

turned to lunch means "turned [our focus, our attention] to lunch"


In your example

breaking out

means "to bring out", it is more animated than "unpackage" or "unwrap" but does not
mean "to eat", which colloquially might be expressed as

wolf down
we broke out the sandwiches and wolfed them down.

Having missed breakfast, you

turned eagerly to lunch

means you're "looking forward" to the next upcoming thing, as in

our attention turned to the next event
we turned to the next page of the story

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