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  1. #1
    Andie is offline Newbie
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    Default Dinner vs supper

    What's difference between having dinner and having supper? According to the dictionary both of them are "main meals". Are they synonyms? Thanks!

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    Default Re: Dinner vs supper

    Quote Originally Posted by Andie View Post
    What's difference between having dinner and having supper? According to the dictionary both of them are "main meals". Are they synonyms? Thanks!
    They can be synonyms, but the words have different meanings in different regions. For me, dinner is the largest meal of the day. It is usually the last meal, but on some days, e.g., holidays and/or Sundays, the main meal (dinner) may be served at midday or a little later. If that is the case, supper (a lighter meal) is served later in the day.

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    Default Re: Dinner vs supper

    As Mike said, in the US it's a regional thing. I grew up using "dinner" and "supper" interchangably as the final (and biggest) meal of the day. My dad, on the other hand, often referred to the mid-day meal (what I'd call "lunch") as "dinner." And my Southern-born husband insists that the only word to describe that evening meal is "supper."

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    eflnow is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Dinner vs supper

    Quote Originally Posted by Andie View Post
    What's difference between having dinner and having supper? According to the dictionary both of them are "main meals". Are they synonyms? Thanks!
    A very thorough and witty answer to: "Could you explain the difference between lunch, supper and dinner?" was given by Gareth Rees on

    BBC World Service | Learning English | Ask about English

    This is what he says:

    "The expressions do relate to the time of day that you eat the meal and the type of food and the size of the meal. That's why it can get confusing.

    First of all, breakfast. This is simplest; it's the first meal of the day in the morning.
    In the middle of the day, you might have lunch or dinner. Lunch sounds more informal or more typical, particularly for people who are working.

    In the evening, you might have dinner or supper. I think that people who have a quick lunch in the middle of the day will say they have dinner in the evening and this dinner will be a good meal.

    A supper is usually a light meal and is probably had after a larger dinner has been had in the middle of the day.

    Confused? Well most people see a dinner as a more complete meal. A common lunch in England is a sandwich, but dinner might include soup, meat with vegetables, and then a dessert like apple pie and ice cream. So, dinner is really the main meal and people might have it in the middle of the day or in the evening. Lunch and supper are both light kinds of meal. Lunch is in the middle of the day, supper is in the evening.

    Now I mentioned there are some other meals. We talked about breakfast. Two more words that you could add to your list are brunch and tea. Brunch is a mixture of breakfast and lunch, as you can tell by the sound of the word: 'brunch'. And people usually have brunch as a replacement for both lunch and breakfast. Brunch is usually had at about 11 o'clock.

    And the final word is tea. Now of course this is a drink, like tea and coffee, but it can also be a light evening meal. I think this word is often used in families, particularly with their children. "It's tea time", "It's time for tea!" This means their small evening meal.

    To finish, it is of course unusual to have breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, tea and supper all in one day. But let me tell you, not impossible. And from that comment you'll understand that I have the ideal physique and dietary habits for radio and the internet and not for TV."


    Gareth Rees has been an English language teacher and teacher trainer for over 10 years. He is currently a lecturer at London Metropolitan University and his first course book for English Language learners is due to be published in 2007.




    Want to listen to him? Go to this link:

    BBC World Service | Learning English | Ask about English

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    Default Re: Dinner vs supper

    Where I live at least, dinner is used for the meal which is eaten at around 12.00pm, and tea is used for the main meal at around 5.00 to 6.00pm. I know else where in England, what I call dinner is called lunch (a word which I never use to describe a meal) and what I call tea is called dinner.

    Supper is also independent of all the other meals. For me, a typical day goes like this:

    Breakfast - Toast, cereal etc.
    Dinner - Sandwiches, fruit, yoghurt etc.
    Tea - Main meal of the day, usually meat and vegetables with chips/rice/pasta etc.
    Supper - Often a takeaway such as Chinese food.

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    Morpheus is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Dinner vs supper

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieCook View Post
    Tea - Main meal of the day, usually meat and vegetables with chips/rice/pasta etc.
    Yeah, just "tea"...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Dinner vs supper

    There is 'tea' and there is 'high tea'

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    Default Re: Dinner vs supper

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieCook View Post
    Where I live at least, dinner is used for the meal which is eaten at around 12.00pm, and tea is used for the main meal at around 5.00 to 6.00pm. I know else where in England, what I call dinner is called lunch (a word which I never use to describe a meal) and what I call tea is called dinner.

    Supper is also independent of all the other meals. For me, a typical day goes like this:

    Breakfast - Toast, cereal etc.
    Dinner - Sandwiches, fruit, yoghurt etc.
    Tea - Main meal of the day, usually meat and vegetables with chips/rice/pasta etc.
    Supper - Often a takeaway such as Chinese food.
    For me it often goes like this:

    Breakfast: coffee
    Lunch: more coffee:
    Dinner: meat and potatoes; the more the merrier
    Bar: Jack Daniel's; the more the merrier
    Breakfast: eggs and potatoes; 4 AM.


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    Default Re: Dinner vs supper

    A very balanced diet Mike, I normally have haggis neeps and tatties for lunch and Lorne sausage for breakfast washed down with a pint of IRN BRU. Substitute the JD for a nice single malt and we're in a parallel universe


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    Default Re: Dinner vs supper

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    A very balanced diet Mike, I normally have haggis neeps and tatties for lunch and Lorne sausage for breakfast washed down with a pint of IRN BRU. Substitute the JD for a nice single malt and we're in a parallel universe

    I think we were twins separated at birth.

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