Why do they call food grub?
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The verb is the source of the English term grub, which was originally used to refer to an insect larva in the 15th century.
The Germanic roots grab- “to dig, bury, scrape,” which are the origin of the English noun grave and verb grave- “to carve or sculpt,” are shared by all of the Germanic terms.
Grub’s slang definition of “meal, victuals” goes back to the middle of the 17th century. The expression “to scavenge or beg” first appeared in slang in the late 19th century.
It is not the language of the American cowboy; rather, it is slang that has its roots in Britain in the first part of the 17th century. Americans most often connect it with the cowboy. Food was served hot and simple around the chuck wagon, which contained the supplies for the drive, during a cattle drive.
The chuck wagon got its name more likely because it was where biscuits, known as “chuck” aboard ships at the time, were made rather than because you were likely to ‘chuck up’ the food it served or because you were likely to obtain a chuck steak there.