PICNIC, a form of entertainment in which the guests are invited to join an excursion to some place where a meal can be taken in the open air. During the first half of the 19th century the essential of a picnic was that the guests should each bring with them a contribution of provisions. At the beginning of the 19th century a society was formed in London called the " Picnic Society," the members of which supped at the Pantheon in Oxford Street, and drew lots as to what part of the meal each should supply (see L. Melville, The Beaux of the Regency, 1908, i. 222). The French form pique-nique is said to be of recent introduction in 1692 (Menage, Diet. elym.). It is doubtful whether picnic is merely a rhyming word, or can be referred to pique, pick, and nique, small coin.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)