Supper vs. Dinner

supper, dinner, chalkboard

In parts of the US, supper and dinner are used interchangeably to refer to the evening meal, but elsewhere dinner is the midday meal, akin to lunch, and supper, the evening meal. What do these words really mean?

The word dinner does not necessarily imply the time of day. Depending on where you are, it may mean the midday meal or the evening meal, but it always refers to the main meal of the day. The word dinner comes from the Vulgar Latin word disjējūnāre meaning “to break one’s fast.”

Supper, on the other hand, is associated with the evening. It comes from the Old French word souper meaning “evening meal.” It has traditionally been used in the context of the last meal taken by Jesus before his crucifixion, known as the Last Supper.

So if someone asks you over for dinner, how do you know what time they expect you? That may depend on where you are. In 1828, Noah Webster wrote that “The dinner of fashionable people would be the supper of rustics,” reflecting the prominence of dinner as the term for a midday meal in some rural parts of the country. Regardless of time of day, if you are going over for dinner, you can expect a feast.

More recent data from Google Ngram suggest that use of the word supper has been declining since the beginning of the 1900s, while the use of lunch has been increasing. Dinner holds the top spot on the lexical food chain as the most widely used term of the three. Which term do you use most often?

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  1. nelson aldrich -  November 30, 2016 - 8:50 am

    as a child..our meals were called. breakfast..dinner and supper..this embarassed me..as most neighbors called mid meal..lunch..i now say breakfast..lunch and dinner..supper on late night meals from 8 pm to 1am, and usually call dinner supper on weekends..

  2. Em -  November 27, 2016 - 11:40 pm

    I’m from Ontario, Canada, and we (at least my family and I) say:
    Breakfast: 6-10 AM
    Brunch: 10 AM-12 PM
    Lunch: 12-2 PM
    Dinner: 6-8 PM
    Also, here, dinner and supper mean the same thing, but dinner is used much more often. For example, someone might ask what time supper is, or say “Supper’s ready!” but other than that, it’s always dinner.
    I have a snack at about 3-4 PM as well, and so do most other people I know.
    Early dinners are sometimes called “linner” or “lupper”.

  3. Norm -  October 25, 2016 - 6:48 am

    This is something I never knew. I grew up in California. Dinner was always considered the final main meal of the day, usually in the evening or late afternoon. The word supper was interchangeable with dinner but rarely used: breakfast, lunch, dinner (supper).

    • Ken -  November 22, 2016 - 6:03 am

      I also grew up in California and I could say the same thing you did here.

  4. Caroline -  August 23, 2016 - 4:52 pm

    I live in the heart of New England 35 miles outside of Boston Breakfast, Lunch and Supper

    • Robin -  August 30, 2016 - 12:42 pm

      I also live (and grew up) near Boston. Yes, it’s breakfast, lunch, and supper. Dinner usually means you are having supper at a fancy schmancy restaurant and involves changing your clothes.

    • Gil C -  September 5, 2016 - 1:27 pm

      Growing up in the deep South it was always breakfast , dinner and supper. As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed a changing to breakfast , lunch and dinner.
      This may be because so many people from other parts of the country have moved into the south. I still hear breakfast, dinner and supper in rural areas.

  5. BigSoph -  August 8, 2016 - 5:35 am

    Northern Ontario, Canada

    First meal is breakfast (or, colloquially, brekky)
    A late breakfast, usually just on a weekend, is brunch
    Midday meal is lunch
    Evening meal is supper if casual, dinner if somewhat special

    Supper is almost always at home, dinner is at someone else’s home or out

    Sometimes a quick meal on the go, all times, is just a bite, as in “I have too many meetings for lunch, I’ll just grab a bite”
    Anything else between meals or before bed is a snack

    • Brandy -  August 16, 2016 - 10:33 pm


  6. Mara -  August 4, 2016 - 7:52 pm

    This is how I think it should be…

    Breakfast: 4-10 AM
    Brunch: 10:30-11:45AM (If you wake up late)
    Lunch: 11:46AM-1PM
    Merienda: (I don’t know if there is an english term for this.)
    Dinner/Supper: 7PM
    Midnight snack: 12MN

    • JL -  August 14, 2016 - 8:33 pm

      Afternoon tea?

    • haydee -  September 14, 2016 - 12:07 pm

      Merienda I think is snack or something to eat in between of each meal

    • Skye -  September 24, 2016 - 10:15 am

      Out west we call it Linner, using the same logic as for the word Brunch. And if you ever said supper instead, people would give you funny looks and wonder where you were from/ how obsessed you are with British culture.

    • Christa -  October 3, 2016 - 6:44 pm

      what are the proper times for night workers?

    • Lisa -  October 29, 2016 - 1:24 am

      That is exactly how I knew what meal it was, by the exact same titlesize that you have, really I personally think that is how it should be everywhere. For example at our beginning of my relationship I called to my man that his dinner was ready come eat. Well he responded like, What’s ready ??? I said uuh your dinner, he said Wow babe , just out of curiosity what time are we eating supper??? WELL just then it clued into me, then all of a sudden I felt my temperature rise,

  7. WeUs -  July 14, 2016 - 6:44 pm

    In my past lives of centuries past we used to refer to the times between eating as fasting. The first opportunity to eat was breaking fasting. Evolving to Breakfast. Usually this occurred in the morning after sleeping as most primates did. As we evolved and learned to drink other than water with our meals we used objects that would hold the liquid referring to them as cups. We began placing them on a board which was referred to as the cup board which became Cupboard and Cupboards. As food became more abundant, we were able to rest during the working day and took drinks and small amounts of food developing into a midday meal (Lunch). The common man’s family was able to Sup their last meal of the day while the elite, Religious leaders and Administrators, could have a more elegant assembly referred to as Dinner. This is what Webster was referring to when he likened a rich man’s dinner to a poor man’s supper.

    • Polly -  August 1, 2016 - 3:33 am

      Growing up in Northern Ireland, there are many times to eat:

      Tea (meaning dinner/supper)

      However in hotels:

      Afternoon Tea (2-4pm)
      High Tea (served 5-7pm)
      Dinner (served 7pm onwards)

    • Adam Roach -  August 5, 2016 - 1:37 pm

      Worst comment in history quite possibly obviously I get that you are writing in the third person for a view of evolution I understand that language has evolved as well as mankind but to say that we crawled out of the ocean or whatever Theory and I use the word very lightly because it simply means an educated guess is insane yes we do grow as people language of all people of all foods evolve it is in our nature as God intended signs is simply the study of the way God does things and to put things like that out there her children who want to live a morally correct Life as a Christian and no matter what you say or your belief system is Christianity preaches morals which makes a better Society

      • Adam Roach -  August 5, 2016 - 1:39 pm

        Sorry I must apologize I used the word signs instead of signs because I used mine voice text and did not proofread my message

        • Gisele Easters -  September 1, 2016 - 12:01 pm

          Many thanks, Adam, for your comments about the morals inherent in our
          Christian faith-and our society’s need for them to be evident- and about spelling & proofreading. We are kindred spirits, I believe! (I didn’t understand your apology comment-signs vs signs? There’s also a couple more uncaught small mistakes in your comments-obviously keystroke errors, not a spelling issue. Due to your Voice Recog. program? I’ve probably missed finding some errors in this comment, regardless of my proofreading. Punctuation would be helpful, too. Nevertheless, your meaning is spot on & it made me glad all over to read your posts!) We are kindred spirits, I believe. Never before have I commented on any sort of internet “post”, until the other day. My comment was about the poor spelling, lack of proofreading & the danger in relying on spellcheck that’s so evident in the many, many posts & comments out there for anyone to read. The “post” that caused me to comment was a “Joke of the Day”, the joke being the changed meaning of an advertisement due to the improper spelling of a word, but it wasn’t funny to me. It made the Teacher in me sad that we’ve become a nation of poor spellers & aren’t able to (or rather don’t) think for ourselves, because we rely on electronic devices. This joke might have been funny to me if I’d not already come across so many poor spellers advertising themselves everywhere I turn. Thanks again!

      • Corey -  November 27, 2016 - 5:57 pm

        When you swim in a public pool and stay towards the shallow end you realize that its only 3 feet. Its not that deep bro.

    • Vernice Aure -  November 2, 2016 - 2:40 pm

      Sorry, I forgot to mention that I’m an anthropologist and grew up in a family of chefs and Culinary professors.

  8. Jett -  July 11, 2016 - 6:54 am

    them brits with their tea is so funny! no offense tho… tea for the majority refers to the beverage and not a meal. just saying

  9. Sarah -  July 9, 2016 - 7:36 am

    We have
    BREKFAST: 6am-10:30am

    DINNER: 12pm-2pm

    TEA: 5pm-8pm

    • Raul -  August 10, 2016 - 6:47 pm

      I’m from Mexico and I’m glad that now I know the difference between dinner and supper, by the way for us Spanish speaking people is easier to understand that dinner comes from the vulgar Latin disjêjûnâre, Spanish desayunar or break one’s fast,

      • cece -  October 28, 2016 - 6:14 am

        Hi Raul,I believe you meant breakfast for desayunar and Latin disjêjûnâre,instead you wrote “it´s easier to understand disjêjûnâre for DINNER” .
        Love this forum!

  10. Chris -  June 22, 2016 - 9:04 am

    East Central Illinois. Breakfast, lunch, dinner/supper. For us, supper is what you have daily with your family. Dinner is used for holidays, an invitation, fundraising meals, eating out. Examples: Hey mom, what’s for supper? They like to invite friends over for dinner a lot. Although, what I call a lunch box my husband calls a dinner bucket and we’re from the same area.

    • Gerry -  July 7, 2016 - 11:08 am

      Gerry, Ottawa Canada
      I grew up with Breakfast 6-9 am
      Lunch 11 am – 1 pm Supper usually between 4-6 pm and or Dinner between 6-9 pm

  11. Roger -  June 7, 2016 - 6:05 pm

    Grew up in NJ:

    Who ever says “I made supper reservations”??

    • Donna -  July 15, 2016 - 2:35 am

      Born and raised in southern NJ as was my mother and grandmother of English and Irish descent. We always said supper unless it was a fancy affair with guests like a holiday meal. My kids are grown now and say supper also unless it’s s special occasion.

    • Andy -  August 17, 2016 - 5:07 pm

      Supper is at home which is why no one says “supper reservations.”

  12. Elham -  May 2, 2016 - 11:33 am

    Oh! this is great! it is the first time I know the difference between supper and dinner. .I am from Egypt. We use breakfast ,lunch , and dinner only.thanks alot to discuss this point

    • Evelyn -  May 14, 2016 - 7:30 am

      In Canada I too grew up with lunch and supper. It is confusing when dinner is used for both meals. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    • Craig -  May 29, 2016 - 5:18 am

      I grew up in NL. It was breakfast, dinner and supper, we had a lunch before we went to bed. I never heard of lunch being called dinner or dinner being called supper until I was about 20. Was that ever confusing! We grew up as Christians, and Jesus had his last supper, the evening meal with family and friends. Thus is was and still is, supper for us.

      • Rick -  June 2, 2016 - 10:11 am

        …same thing in NS. A lunch was a snack, like bread and jam or sweet relish at bedtime.

      • Greg -  August 28, 2016 - 11:15 pm

        Breakfast, dinner, and supper! Lunch is that snack you have in mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Silly city slickers.

        • Anthony -  November 1, 2016 - 10:34 am

          Yes! Breakfast upon waking up; lunch, as in luncheon (not a full meal), for finger foods or a snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon; dinner for the daytime meal; and supper for the evening meal.

          With breakfast lunch and dinner you’re skipping supper altogether.

  13. Sandy -  April 21, 2016 - 1:02 pm

    Why do we say “Turkey Dinner”, “Pot-luck Dinner”, or “Frozen Dinner” or even the “Dinner Bell”? They all sound wrong substituting “Supper”. Dinner seems somehow generic and special at the same time.

    • Jim -  May 16, 2016 - 1:15 pm

      To my ear all sound fine either way, EXCEPT turkey supper, which sounds wrong. OTOH Fish supper sounds fine, and fish dinner wrong.
      BUT I have lived all over the US, and overseas.

      • Craig -  May 29, 2016 - 6:09 pm

        We have turkey dinner for Christmas, Easter, thanks giving, etc. And it is always around noon, Dinner time!

  14. Gerry Smith -  April 11, 2016 - 9:13 pm

    Yes, well I grew up in Kansas and the meals were called Breakfast Dinner and Supper. The reason it was that way because of farmers and people who worked very hard. The noon meal would be the biggest meal and the evening meal was lighter. However when I came to California ,they called the meals Breakfast Lunch and Dinner. Go figure.

    • Gary Kirkle -  June 25, 2016 - 3:53 pm

      Also being from Kansas, it’s supper.

  15. Effie -  April 10, 2016 - 5:26 am

    What I learn breakfast – lunch and dinner or supper , when we get up in the morning we eat breakfast then midday or noon time is lunch then dinner or supper around 5-6 pm we always have a light snacks before the meal that’s the way I understand at school in Philippines breakfast when u get up in the morning lunch meal noontime dinner or supper in the evening .

  16. Riki Jones -  March 29, 2016 - 9:02 am

    I was born (and have spent most of my life) in middle Tennessee (near Nashville). My father was born here, my mother was born in Pennsylvania.
    Growing up in Tennessee, as well as on the Gulf Coast (Gulfport, MS) I was taught two different ways to name daily meals.
    “Breakfast, lunch, and dinner” was my mom’s way of saying it, (and also the way I say it). Sometimes, however, she would use “breakfast, lunch, and supper” to placate Daddy.
    My dad, on the other hand would commonly use “breakfast, dinner, and supper”.
    Even today, people I meet with a more “country” manner of speaking usually call “lunch” by the names of “dinner” or say “dinner-time”, and call the evening meal “supper”.
    I’ve always assumed that those terms were grammatically incorrect because the people who generally use those terms aren’t usually overly concerned with proper grammar, and often use slang. (which is what I thought the word “supper” was!)

    I own “The Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins”..which probably mentions these variations (I haven’t gotten to it, if it does). It’s the most interesting book, if this topic appeals to you.

    Thank you so much for sharing this article! What I found most fascinating and astonishing were the comments from people in countless countries across the world, sharing what they call each meal.
    Great article!

  17. पवन -  March 9, 2016 - 7:27 am


  18. mj anderson -  January 29, 2016 - 3:47 am

    Lunch is lunch.. unless it’s Thanksgiving or something — then it’s dinner…supper is soup & sandwiches or something else not fancy & time consuming to cook – or a backyard cookout (who would ever call that dinner anyway?) or just a casual meal before 6:30 pm or so — dinner is a fancy meal or a big family gathering for a huge meal (holiday dinners) or going to a nice restaurant after 4:00 pm — or just use the word “dinner” to signify you went to a lot of work to cook it — or if you just want to sound fancy ….. boom…argument settled! hahaha

    • पवन -  March 9, 2016 - 7:25 am


    • 4Monthslater -  April 23, 2016 - 7:01 am

      There is no ‘argument’. The whole point is to show people like all-important YOU that OTHERS say different things. Some ppl say dinner, others say lunch. No one’s arguing about it. Do you need more time to understand ? There are special classes for that I’m sure.

      • Gisele Easters -  September 1, 2016 - 1:20 pm

        In a bad mood, 4Months? Maybe you should re-read her comment, and re-think your unkind comment. You might even consider attending one of those classes yourself, or maybe you should just have a light snack and a nap to bring back your usual nice self. MJ’s just going with the thread of the conversation and only commenting about the names of meals that she’s familiar with and her reasoning behind those names being appropriate. Her comment came across as lighthearted, and it’s obvious that the word “argument” wasn’t being used in a literal sense.

        So chill, 4Months. After your restorative nap, Dinner/Supper/Tea/whatever will arrive, and all of this conversation about food will fade from your mind.

        My family has always called the evening meal dinner or supper, but lunch has always been lunch. We’ve never argued about what it’s called.
        We were taught by Mom to be ever thankful for our meals, for everyone was not used to our bounty, skimpy though it might sometimes seem to us. So that in my bounty today, my heart just breaks for the millions of people-especially the children-who simply call it “food”, because they never know when they might get some. Meal names don’t even show on their radar. The knowledge that there is more than enough surplus money in most of our pockets to end the disease of hunger all across our world brings me to tears. How about you?

        • dmoz -  October 15, 2016 - 7:46 pm

          I am from metropolitan India where a very long day is the norm. Therefore we go for four meal/ snacks in a day. Our English has evolved from old English terms due to colonial history. So for us meals / snacks are as follows
          Breakfast – Morning meal not very elaborate
          Lunch- Afternoon meal which is the heaviest meal of the day
          Tea- A snack type affair around 5pm
          Dinner- A light meal between 7pm and 930pm
          On holidays breakfast and lunch often gets combined into brunch.

    • Elham -  May 2, 2016 - 11:33 am

      Good comment

  19. Mike -  January 23, 2016 - 8:22 am

    In Missouri rural areas in 50s 60s lunch was what you ate at luncheonette counters, not at home. At home it was always dinner at noon and supper in the late afternoon. To call supper dinner would most likely be frowned upon or considered snobbish or uppity by hard working folk.

  20. Donna -  January 18, 2016 - 1:00 pm

    We’ve never used ‘supper’ where I am in Australia but often you hear ‘dinner’ used for lunch and ‘tea’ used for the evening meal. I think it harks back to British roots.

  21. OwnedBySummer -  January 2, 2016 - 4:08 pm

    From Canada (Toronto, Ontario): Almost everyone I know says breakfast, lunch then dinner. I always thought it was rural people who said supper — I know a few of them who say breakfast, lunch then supper. :)

  22. Jane -  December 30, 2015 - 7:10 pm

    What an interesting discussion…something so ingrained in our experience that we don’t usually think about much.
    My family used ‘supper’ and ‘dinner’ interchangeably to mean the evening meal. Breakfast was always the first, Lunch the second and depending which side of the family you were with either Dinner or Supper. I always thought ‘Dinner’ was the classier version of the evening meal because my Mom’s family were more sophisticated and that’s what they used.
    So for me ‘Supper’ meant my Dad’s rural farmer culture and ‘Dinner’ meant my Mom’s urban and higher-class culture….but both referred to the same meal. I loved both cultures. :-)
    It was really typical in my family that people would ask “when will Supper be ready?”, but when my Mom called us to eat it was “Dinner’s Ready”.

    • Gracie -  January 6, 2016 - 5:38 pm

      That’s interesting, I grew up using dinner interchangeably with both supper and lunch. My mother said dinner for the evening meal but my grandparents always said supper.

  23. Vivek -  December 25, 2015 - 1:21 am

    Here in India, Dinner always means the last meal of the day even if it is simple and in formal.When I say let’s go out for dinner this afternoon, people get annoyed.. Even if the Dinner is going to be quite elaborate and had during the mid-day.. It’s always called as Lunch..But I believe, lunch is something that you eat on a daily bases.. Say at office or at home. When we have intived someone with whom we are going to have an extra special Lunch.. than it is Dinner of course.

  24. secret agent #45 -  December 17, 2015 - 3:57 pm

    who cares every one is different……

  25. Dinner only -  December 16, 2015 - 1:29 am

    I didn’t know that dinner can mean lunch. English is my second language. I was taught meals of they day are breakfast, lunch and dinner. Supper was mentioned as a very late meal at night and I thought it was a British word, since it sounds classy (like afternoon tea, who does that? the British royals, of course).
    I had an Egyptian friend who always used “dinner” for the meal after his breakfast and I always corrected him to use “lunch” instead. He said in Egypt that’s how we called it.
    Now thinking about it, maybe I was wrong

    • Pauline Cahilll -  January 2, 2016 - 6:44 am

      I am English and we have always referred to the main meal, whenever it is eaten, as ‘Dinner.’ In modern times, due to working practices making a large meal in the middle of the day impractical, dinner is usually eaten in the evening. This is probably the basis of your teacher’s lessons. ‘Supper’ is the last meal of the day, but is rarely used nowadays, since this tends to be our dinner anyway.

  26. Heather -  November 23, 2015 - 10:51 pm

    Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner ordinarily (because dinner is the “large” meal). On Holidays and Sundays sometimes we might have a very light “continental-style” breakfast(10 am) and then Dinner(largest meal) is served at a more typical lunch time (say 1 pm-ish) and then we would have a lighter (sandwiches or soup) supper(evening meal around 6 pm).

    If a heartier brunch is served on the weekend(because we combined breakfast and lunch..due to sleeping in late)..then we would have our dinner at suppertime.
    But since Dinner/Large meal is so frequently served at supper time…we use it as the description of the time(served) as well as the size. *shrugs*

    • AndyZ -  December 17, 2015 - 8:32 pm

      My family always used the terms “Supper” and “Dinner” interchangeably.
      However, someone posted the difference as dining in verse out, which might be acceptable.
      Grandma used supper and Grandpa called it dinner.
      That was a Baton Rouge, LA term.

  27. Anthony -  November 13, 2015 - 10:47 am

    I’m from Florida. I’ve always known meal times as breakfast, lunch and supper. Unless we were going out to eat at a restaurant or to someone house, then supper became dinner.
    During school we had “lunch time”, during work we have “lunch time”. (lunch counter, lunch menu, lunch specials)
    Supper was what we ate together as a family at home in the evening, dinner was us eating out somewhere special. (dinner date, dinner menu, dinner specials)
    Breakfast between 6am and 10am. Lunch between 12pm and 2pm. Supper between 5pm and 7pm and then dessert was around 7:30 or 8pm. We never ate after 9pm.
    and I’ve always called it “soda” (soda fountain, soda jerk, ice cream soda)

    • Cherlyn Caskey -  December 2, 2015 - 12:58 pm

      I absolutely agree with you! I grew up in Georgia and that’s exactly how my family views the difference in those words. Lunch is always lunch. Supper is evening meal eaten at home. Dinner is evening meal eaten out.


  28. mac -  October 23, 2015 - 4:35 am

    I grew up in Malaysia, and our English was influenced strongly by the British colonialists. It was always Breakfast (first meal after waking), Lunch (midday meal), Tea (about 4pm), Dinner (main evening meal), Supper (small meal before going to bed). Any other intake at any other time were just referred to as ‘snacks’.

    • Dave -  March 8, 2016 - 8:02 am

      That’s it exactly,I grew up in the Rhondda and we had 4 meals a day (if we were lucky) and in that order, nuff said.

    • Jim S -  May 20, 2016 - 4:34 am

      That’s the way I learn t it ib Australia. Breakfast, Lunch and Tea, supper was a light snack before bed. Dinner is an occasion i.e. are you comming over for dinner whereas tea is for familia use.

    • Jack -  May 22, 2016 - 7:22 pm

      From Singapore. Exactly the same!

  29. Massiel -  October 19, 2015 - 4:08 pm

    In the Navy, Dinner is used for lunch time and supper for the last meal of the day in the evening. I think most likely because of what was explained in here or just because supper is actually the last meal served on the working day. :)

  30. Emerald -  October 12, 2015 - 11:15 am

    I’m from the U.K., and I’ve hardly ever heard the word ‘supper’ in use. I always say breakfast (morning meal), lunch (midday meal), and dinner (evening meal).

    • mac -  October 23, 2015 - 4:41 am

      hi Emerald. My husband is an older Englishman, born and bred on the Wirral, and he *always* says “dinner” to mean lunch, and “supper” to mean evening dinner. Since I refer to lunch as lunch, and dinner as dinner, we get into a few pickles over the terms.

    • Brenda -  October 27, 2015 - 3:28 pm

      I use breakfast, lunch and dinner, I live in Florida. My sister n law lives in va. And always corrects me saying breakfast, dinner and super.

      • ally -  February 16, 2016 - 7:41 am

        I call it breakfast, lunch, and dinner also..I live in Georgia.

  31. Ron -  October 10, 2015 - 5:34 pm

    Growing up in a French-Canadian subculture in Maine, (circa 1950′s), dinner was always the midday meal sometime between 11 am and 1 pm. Supper on the other hand was the evening meal sometime between 5 pm and 7 pm after everyone had returned from errands, school, work, and all the daily chores had been done. There may have been a small snack later in the evening but that had no name nor was it in any way formal, expected, or always had. The snack, if there was one, was a personal affair usually eaten alone while reading, watching TV, or doing school homework.

  32. Mo -  October 7, 2015 - 4:35 am

    Dinner is for old people

    • Brenda -  October 27, 2015 - 3:30 pm


  33. Evan -  September 23, 2015 - 12:49 pm

    I grew up in the great state of Texas. I say Dinner.

  34. Michael Nelson -  September 22, 2015 - 4:45 pm


    • Michael Nelson -  September 22, 2015 - 4:46 pm

      YA SUPPER!!!!

  35. James J -  September 22, 2015 - 9:01 am

    Coming from the Midwest and growing up around an agrarian culture there were actually 4 meals. Breakfast A,M., Dinner midday Lunch around 4 o’clock and supper after all chores were completed when the family finally had time to sit together and converse.

    • Bob Horner -  September 23, 2015 - 12:21 pm

      If you followed this meal schedule now at dinner you would all be talking about how you needed to lose weight!

  36. Ahmad Caldwell -  September 22, 2015 - 8:06 am

    it all depends where you’re from and what you’re use to say

    • sheyy -  September 22, 2015 - 12:56 pm

      NICE JOB BRO!!! >: (

    • Pregs -  September 22, 2015 - 1:44 pm

      My impression growing up in RSA was, Dinner was an earlier but larger meal. Supper was a later and lighter meal. At home, typically after 6pm was supper.

    • Nathanael -  September 22, 2015 - 3:41 pm

      I agree.

    • Bean LOAF -  September 22, 2015 - 9:02 pm

      From what i think supper is an older term

  37. anna -  September 22, 2015 - 6:44 am

    i think they are both fine

    • fdghjkl; -  September 22, 2015 - 3:04 pm


  38. Neil Sapsford -  September 22, 2015 - 6:10 am

    What a lovely and interesting discussion with no relevance to world peace!:)

    It seems to me it is not not about right or wrong, but your own understanding based on your environment.

    In South Africa in my experience we would have breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week but often a Sunday dinner at lunch time and a light supper in the evening. That is if we don’t braai at lunch time which would be just that!

    That’s my halfpenny’s worth.

    • Charina McCullem -  December 1, 2015 - 11:51 am

      I thought the same thing (know real relevance), but it funny to read the comments.

    • Gerry Smith -  April 11, 2016 - 9:37 pm

      I give you a nickel he he.To Neil Sapsford

  39. Nile -  September 21, 2015 - 3:58 pm

    Dinner or supper fine as long as I know it is time to eat!!

  40. Aniuska Vilchez -  September 21, 2015 - 2:49 pm

    I feel that the word supper has the right meaning of eating in the evening. Dinner really actually means that your eating lunch not real supper. I have always felt that supper feels more sophisticated and more classier.

    • TBone Malone -  September 24, 2015 - 12:40 am

      I somewhat agree, Aniuska. Being a former ‘military brat’, I’ve experienced all variations. Here’s how I look at it now:

      It all depends. Generally, it’s breakfast/lunch/dinner. However, special occasions might include, ‘brunch’ on a weekend (late) morning, with better fare of a wider variety, (such as quiche, locs, bagels, fruit & cheese platters, sparkling beverages/freshly made juices…). Sorry; drifted away on fond memories.

      I tend to think of ‘suppers’–as with brunch–to be more upscale meals, consumed later in the evening.

      For example, after early evening entertainment, stopping off at a favorite ‘supper club’ for a delicious meal, (and maybe a second wind…) used to be very enjoyable.

      Of course now I’m too decrepit and bound by a small, disability income to ever have ‘brunches’ or ‘suppers’–no matter the time of day. For that matter, I don’t have very many of the more common meals either.

      Instead, I now, ‘graze’ (an apple here, a yogurt there, a few nuts in passing…).

  41. Amy -  September 21, 2015 - 5:57 am

    I think the word dinner is more nice.
    But I guess I like the meaning supper more.

    • Brian -  September 21, 2015 - 8:57 am

      Ok so this site obviously messes up posts so I take tht back, I apologize since it screwed up my post as well haha

      • Brian -  September 21, 2015 - 8:58 am

        Actually nah, ur still dumb

        • Charina McCullem -  December 1, 2015 - 11:53 am

          I thought the same thing (know real relevance), but it funny to read the comments.

  42. Trevor Blankenship -  September 20, 2015 - 10:16 pm

    When I young and would visit our family farm in Wyoming every summer our family had breakfast, dinner (lunch time meal) and then supper in the evening meal. Depending on the amount of family either dinner or supper could be a rather large meal and sometimes both. It wasn’t until much later that lunch would be used interchangeably with dinner.

  43. J -  September 20, 2015 - 6:45 am

    And here is another thought. When an Aunt moved into a retirement home a few years back it was explained that their largest meal was served in the middle of all seven days of the week and called Dinner. Supper was served about sundown and usually consisted of lighter fare. Another resident explained they they, being ‘working-class’ folks ate their Dinner in the middle of the day, while ‘swells’ ate their Dinner in the evening. She further explained that it tracks back to farming folk needing a heartier meal midday and in large households with ‘staff’ it worked better to have the larger meals ‘upstairs and downstairs’ at different time of the day. Jus sayin.

    • Pauline Cahilll -  January 2, 2016 - 6:53 am

      The same applies in UK hospitals. As a type one diabetic I had a limited choice of food last time I was in. I spent three weeks eating a large lunch and a ‘tea’ which was lighter while the doctors struggled to get my blood sugars right. When I was released, and went back to commuting to work I had to re-adjust everything back again!

  44. nina -  September 19, 2015 - 11:16 pm

    Supper is the last meal of the day. It is earlier and casual. Dinner is also the last meal of the day. It is more formal and later in the day. You don’t go out to Supper, you go out to Dinner.

  45. Steve -  September 19, 2015 - 7:37 pm

    Monday to Friday we had breakfast, lunch, and supper at 6am, noon, and 6pm…..Saturday since we slept later, we had Brunch which would be between 8am and 9am, a small snack around 1pm and supper at 5 pm and Sunday brunch again but between 9 and 10, go to 11:30 Mass get home for 1pm and Dad would start Sunday Dinner around 1:30 so we ate around 3pm and that was it bedtime snack around 6pm on Sunday….so during the week it was Breakfast, lunch, and Supper, Saturday it was Brunch, small Snack, and early Supper, and Sunday, it was Brunch, and Dinner

    • Barbara -  September 21, 2015 - 1:05 pm

      You have got to be from the east coast. It’s breakfast, lunch and supper with dinner on Sunday. I am originally from Boston Mass. area. And you?

    • Barbara -  September 21, 2015 - 1:25 pm

      BTW I now live in Michigan. It’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we never have supper. Go figure.

    • Carol -  September 25, 2015 - 9:56 am

      From west suburban boston, breakfast, lunch & supper, except Sunday early afternoon Dinner and leftovers or snack sunday night. If during the week if we had company, then the evening meal was called Dinner, more formal

  46. kelvin -  September 19, 2015 - 6:50 pm

    for me its – breakfast [ around 8 am or first meal], lunch [ around 12-2 pm] supper[around 5-6 pm ] and dinner [ the largest meal of the day- around 8-9 pm].
    but reading all comments it’s good to know what geographical region has which terminology and meaning.

  47. dinner or supper or breakfast? -  September 19, 2015 - 6:02 pm

    i don’t care at all
    it’s all good

  48. lawrence montambault -  September 19, 2015 - 1:53 pm

    i have read your blog with 103 comments on dinner vs supper and found it most interesting. btw,im over 67 yrs. my family always used breakfast,lunch and supper during the work week.
    now ,i am retired ,but i usually eat 6 light meals a day and thanks to this blog,i finnally know what to call them!

    Breakfast -3 am to 11 am
    brunch 11 am to 1 pm
    lunch 11 am to 2 pm
    dinner 130 pm to 5 pm
    tea time 3 pm to 7 pm
    supper after 8 pm

    this uses the holiday meaning of dinner as being a hot meal although not necessarly large, between 130 pm and 5 pm as the afternoon meal and using tea time in the other slot usually filled by dinner and using the supper as the meal just before bed.

    this ,i think ,may be a very good synopsis of what everyone had to say
    about dinner vs supper ,without leaving anyone (i hope) out.

    please feel free to comment ,if you wish.
    it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this.

  49. franb -  September 18, 2015 - 8:59 pm

    When my husband and I just met and were dating, my father invited us to Sunday dinner. I was waiting and waiting for him, and finally at about 1:30 I asked him when he would be ready. My family is from the south and farmers. He said he would be ready about 4 or 5. He thought dinner was in the evening. His family is from the north east and urban.
    I had to explain that dinner is right after noon, and supper is at night! Early on, we started using the dictionary to settle these kinds of issues. Unfortunately, the dictionary we had said it could be the evening or noon meal. It said it referred to the biggest meal of the day.
    We decided to avoid confusion, we would eat breakfast, lunch, and supper, and avoid dinner altogether!

    • ri -  September 21, 2015 - 12:07 pm

      this shows how everyone is diffrent and how people believe diffrent things. everyone says things diffrently…. some people might say thing diffrent becasue:
      1) religion
      2) the city or county and other reasons
      (sorry for the spelling only young :) )

      • Mike -  December 23, 2015 - 7:28 am

        Ri, it is great to see a ‘young’ taking an interest in language and words. Keep it up and Merry Christmas to you. From South Africa

  50. Bill -  September 18, 2015 - 9:03 am

    Should Hyacinth have called them her “candlelight dinners”?

    • Barbara -  September 21, 2015 - 1:19 pm


    • andrea -  December 12, 2015 - 12:05 pm

      Nice to see there is someone else who knows who Hyacinth is!!

      • andrea -  December 12, 2015 - 12:08 pm

        From America, that is.

      • Mike -  December 23, 2015 - 7:15 am

        Are you trying to confuse us by introducing the bucket/bouquet controversy?

  51. er -  September 18, 2015 - 12:22 am

    Carry on!

  52. HHHMMMM -  September 18, 2015 - 12:20 am

    You guys are weird. I’m glad you found something that makes you feel happy.

  53. Susanne -  September 17, 2015 - 9:01 pm

    Well, the british eat dessert first, then their evening meal. Whatever that meal is called. They say “we always eat dessert first, because life is too short to wait for it.” So, dinner or supper, I like the way they think…

    • Angie -  September 22, 2015 - 3:45 am

      In polite society, we Brits do not use the word ‘dessert’; ‘pudding’ is the preferred term. And I can’t say I’ve ever met a Brit that eat’s their pudding first!!

      • Mike -  December 23, 2015 - 7:19 am

        lack pudding should always be eaten first before you run out of egg yolk.

    • Pauline Cahilll -  January 2, 2016 - 6:59 am

      I’m British. I’ve never eaten dessert first (unless it was as a child and I managed to avoid the meat and vegetables). Yorkshire ‘pudding’ can be eaten as part of the main meal, or as a dessert with a sweet sauce, which may have caused this confusion. Perhaps it is different ‘up north’ as I am a Southerner.

  54. john reyes -  September 17, 2015 - 3:31 pm

    most of the time it refers to as one or the other.but in different country’s dinner is the largest meal of the day. which is held in the middle of the day so it is breakfast, dinner and then supper

  55. Kate -  September 17, 2015 - 12:00 pm

    My father is from Arkansas/Alabama, and I am from Wisconsin. For me, there is breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I knew the word “supper” existed, but I didn’t pay attention to when it was used. Well, a few years ago, around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, my father asked me if he could “fix me dinner.” I stared at him and asked him why I would want to eat dinner at 1 pm (because, again, for me, dinner takes place around 5.30 pm). I was completely confused. He decided I was just being snotty, and I went away utterly bewildered.

    Then, a year or so ago, I actually found out that Southerners refer to lunch as “dinner.” THEN it made sense.

  56. Ryker -  September 17, 2015 - 9:02 am

    I’ve lived in three countries – America, France and England.

    In America we say breakfast, lunch and supper

    In England we said breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper.

    And since this is an English site, maybe I’ll forget about the French!!! We only lived there for a couple of years and I never got very good at it anyway.

    • VStephenV -  September 21, 2015 - 3:27 pm

      I should say that you’re being too generalistic to say “in America we say.” America is a very large spans on land and influenced by many nationalities in its every state. Breakfast is self-explanatory. Dinner definitely is a large meal regardless of the time of day it’s eaten. Supper in the South East was the evening meal for us the middle class. I truly couldn’t tell you what a wealthy landowner would have said. Supper’s coming from the French word “souper” with it’s base being “soupe” or soup obviously implied a lighter meal with a light broth or soup as one of its courses. It is also the wealth person’s term for a light meal after a ball or an opera; therefore, one CAN “go out to supper.”

    • noddy -  October 9, 2015 - 2:35 pm

      Lived in France and America:
      In France we said ‘petit dejeuner’, ‘dejeuner’ (both very close to the latin ‘disjejunare’) and ‘diner’. Only grand-parents ever said ‘souper’
      In America (Chicago) we said ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner’. I have yet to meet anybody using ‘supper’, but this website is an eye opener…

  57. Blarg -  September 17, 2015 - 7:15 am

    Growing up in Ireland it was breakfast, dinner and tea (but always Sunday lunch, I seem to recall) – when we moved abroad it became breakfast, lunch and dinner as a kind of de facto international standard. As a young professional singleton I’d characterise my meals these days as coffee, noodles and beer!

  58. bob -  September 17, 2015 - 6:18 am

    Huh. For me it’s always breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Very interesting reading the comments.

  59. fila -  September 17, 2015 - 12:44 am

    i dont even know them , b/c i have notn to eat guys!!!

  60. Soccer Dude -  September 16, 2015 - 9:26 pm

    In fact, I don’t think I have ever even USED the word supper except in books and stuff.

  61. Soccer Dude -  September 16, 2015 - 9:23 pm

    Well I have never really referred to dinner as “supper”, and I mostly think of it as a term that they used in the olden days.

  62. Paul -  September 16, 2015 - 9:11 pm

    I always disliked the word supper. To me, it always felt kind of slang or less educated to use the term supper. The only people who used the term supper where I grew up in Southeast Michigan often had poor or southern roots and often lived in a trailer park. This was just my experience. I could say the exact same thing about the use of the word “cuss” or “cussing.” Cussing just sounded trailer parkish. I’m not bashing or demeaning those who live in trailer parks, again, this was just my experience, and this is the best way I can describe who when where you’d hear this word spoken.

    • Barbara -  September 21, 2015 - 1:32 pm

      Like I said in an earlier post, I grew up on the east coast. We had breakfast lunch and supper with dinner on Sunday. I hardly grew up poor, in a trailer, nor was I from the south. I think you may be referring more of a dialect, than ones socioeconomic status or background.

    • Landrymom -  September 21, 2015 - 8:28 pm

      I certainly hope I don’t come across as sounding rude, but your comment seems to exhibit that of someone who is less enlightened about cultures of different regions of the US. While I confess to being a proud Southener, I grew up in a middle-class family, I have a graduate degree, I never lived in a trailer park, and my family had supper every night! I have had the privilege to travel to all but a handful of states and several countries and have enjoyed learning about differences in culture and language. If you expand your horizons and travel to the South, you can probably find someone with enough Southern hospitality to treat you to a delicious supper which may even change your point of view. :-)

  63. yoochan -  September 16, 2015 - 4:43 pm

    I have breakfast, lunch, dinner and then supper. When I tell my friends this they think I’m crazy. Is it that weird to have both? My family has always done this so for me is perfectly normal.

  64. Kenya -  September 16, 2015 - 4:17 am

    same same

    • yuri -  September 18, 2015 - 9:05 am

      It seems different meal names depend on geography…
      Breakfast – A.M time meal; Lunch – noontime meal used in N. America; Dinner – late afternoon or early eve meal in N. America;
      In England and Down Under a ‘tea’ is the afternoon meal;
      Supper isnt used very much anywhere in N. America, unless it is a formal gathering…but maybe used more routinely in the UK for an evening time meal
      (…Just some observations from a non-native English speaker:))

    • dinner or supper -  September 19, 2015 - 5:59 pm


      • dinner or supper -  September 19, 2015 - 6:00 pm

        i replied kenya’s at 8:59 but it said 5:59
        this was sent at 9:00

        • Barbara -  September 21, 2015 - 1:34 pm

          Must post according to websites home terminal. Which I presume must be on the west coast.

  65. Elephants -  September 15, 2015 - 4:54 pm

    I don’t really care which is which. I just like to eat them!

    • Kamrym -  September 17, 2015 - 6:00 pm

      right yum yum……….

    • annakim298 -  September 19, 2015 - 6:43 pm


    • max -  September 20, 2015 - 12:03 pm

      I mostley like dinner.

    • Simon -  September 20, 2015 - 5:44 pm

      Too true. LOL :)

    • Nathanael -  September 22, 2015 - 3:42 pm

      Your making me hungry. LOL.

  66. Kathy -  September 14, 2015 - 11:20 am

    When I was growing up, we had breakfast, lunch and supper. Then I got married and we had breakfast, lunch and dinner and that’s what it’s been ever since. But my grandparents who were from Oklahoma had breakfast, then a snack around 11ish and a massive meal somewhere between 2-4 (supper) and then they would have a snack between supper and and bedtime, no label attached to it.
    For the person who is from Florida and had Pepsi in part of the state and soda in another, I grew up calling it pop and didn’t know what the kids in California were talking about when they referred to soda after we moved out there.
    And of course, then there is the controversy of sofa, couch or divan. cheers

    • Al Vin -  September 15, 2015 - 8:37 pm

      And then there is the “davenport.

      • Susan Johnson -  September 16, 2015 - 11:19 am

        And don’t forget “sofa”!

      • Ryker -  September 17, 2015 - 9:05 am

        Pavement is the best one.

        In England, the pavement is what Americans call a sidewalk.

        In America, a pavement is a road…but they call it a road as well!

      • bloozshooz -  September 17, 2015 - 11:51 am

        And don’t forget “chesterfield,” which is what my grandparents from Kansas called it.

      • Greg -  September 17, 2015 - 8:08 pm

        Or the icebox, a bar was the Beer garden, a cop was a flat foot because they walked a beat, to be gay meant happy, a fag was a cigarette A hotty was a dame for my dad a chick for me and stereo was the Victrola. :) My dad would say you been smoking opium, if he thought you were crazy or said something dumb, and my favorite you don’t know sh-t from shine-ola. ,

        • Greg -  September 17, 2015 - 8:10 pm

          I never hear supper anymore just dinner 5-7 pm

    • Lex Icon -  September 20, 2015 - 4:12 pm

      Don’t forget about “settee”. I guess that’s more of an English term.

    • Darren -  September 21, 2015 - 12:24 pm

      Okay, lived many years in Florida, I will say the farther north you go in Florida, the more southern it gets, lol. From the panhandle to central Florida, we called every soft drink, soda. Many native Floridians and southerners called the evening meal supper – which is a big meal! The writer’s reference to the Last Supper as a small meal is false. Jesus was participating in the Jewish Seder Meal, which is quite extensive!

      And the sofa, couch controversy, was explained to me this way: a couch is fully upholstered, while a sofa (typically) has the wooden legs and perhaps other areas exposed / unupholstered. Cheers!

  67. Danny -  September 14, 2015 - 11:05 am

    I use lunch often for the noon meal, but in the south(rural Georgia in particular) dinner is at noon and supper is the evening meal.

    • Shirley -  September 17, 2015 - 7:59 am

      I live in South Georgia and you are right. If I invite someone to Supper, they don’t have to wonder what time of the day that is. Lunch has crept in because of the school lunchroom, I guess, but we know Dinner is a big, nice meal in the middle of the day. Especially on Sunday after church, and on the farm, every day of the week. Working folks need lots of good food.

    • Lily -  September 17, 2015 - 12:28 pm

      I know

    • poopyou -  September 18, 2015 - 2:39 pm


  68. Hannah -  September 14, 2015 - 7:53 am

    Supper means last meal of the day and dinner means biggest meal of the day

    • Yemmy -  September 15, 2015 - 5:19 pm


    • Hannah -  September 18, 2015 - 12:15 pm

      That is so cool, i so did not know that !!!! :)

  69. Ricky D. -  September 14, 2015 - 7:44 am

    Interesting reading these comments. There are some who use them the same way I do and some who don’t. Wonder if it’s a regional thing? For me, it’s always been breakfast, lunch, and supper. “Dinner” was reserved for special meals. For example, Thanksgiving Dinner was typically served at lunchtime, and Sunday Dinner at my grandmother’s was a lunch so big you probably didn’t want supper, while taking my wife “out for dinner” or “Dinner and a Movie” happens at supper time. But any normal day is breakfast, lunch, supper.

  70. Elaine -  September 13, 2015 - 10:34 pm

    To me, “supper” connotes a more casual evening meal; and “dinner” connotes a more formal evening meal.

  71. Noel -  September 13, 2015 - 6:09 pm

    The only thing I would add to the many correct and good comments here is that the word “supper” to me sounds like a middle class London affectation having a sort of bohemian “we cant afford a lot of food” feel about it. “We’re just about to have some supper and you are more than welcome to join us” – type thing, with the implication you would be really treading on peoples generosity to accept such an offer. I personally would never use it as a word because I dont like pretence although I like reading about its use in the USA.

    • Shirley -  September 17, 2015 - 8:04 am

      Pretence? I think you are way off the mark. There is no hidden message in the word “supper”. If I invite you to supper, it’s because I want you to come and eat with us. Don’t think you must decline because of some hidden meaning.

    • Amanda -  September 20, 2015 - 9:30 pm

      Oddly enough, I see it quite differently. I’m from the Midwest in the States and I have never heard a middle class person say “Hey, what would you like for supper?” it is always “Hey, what do you want for dinner?”. On the other hand, I’ve heard many upper class individuals announce that it is time for “supper”. I’m not sure if this is a colloquial word or not- maybe I just live in an odd city(: It might also be an England/USA thing. But I agree, this is interesting to see play out.

  72. Kiwi girl -  September 13, 2015 - 5:00 pm

    Here in New Zealand we use breakfast, lunch and tea. Supper is a drink and snack before bed and dinner is a hot meal usually meat and veg which is often what we have at tea or Sunday lunch. Interesting to hear what other countries use!

    • Soccer Dude -  September 16, 2015 - 9:20 pm

      My mom is a kiwi too! I will have to ask her about this.

  73. Cassy -  September 13, 2015 - 2:28 pm

    Being French Canadian, I have always referred to it as breakfast, dinner, supper (déjeuner, diner, souper), but when I moved to Ontario and went to an english school, my friends would always look at me weird when I used “dinner” instead of “lunch”, which I thought was weird as well because lunch is your food, not the mealtime. You eat your lunch at dinner.

  74. Patrick -  September 13, 2015 - 9:07 am

    B, L, Dinner for me but folks who used the term ‘supper’ always got my taste buds going.

  75. Artie -  September 12, 2015 - 8:22 pm

    “Dinner” isn’t necessarily ALWAYS the “most important” meal. It may simply mean a more formal version of “supper”, in which case a midday meal is STILL just “lunch”.

  76. ayuk -  September 11, 2015 - 1:46 pm

    To me, a dinner is formal meal, not necessarily ties or bowties,
    and supper would be an informal meal in the evening.

  77. Becky -  September 11, 2015 - 11:49 am


    Ummm, that would be breakfast. Our favorite meal. ;-)

    Thanx for the explanation, but ti’s still clear as mud.

    My family and friends and relatives ‘up North’ call it dinner. Our Southern counterparts call it supper. Regardless of what we call it, we all eat it later than midday.

    • Coroth2112 -  November 10, 2016 - 7:10 am

      what if its clear mud?

  78. jane -  September 11, 2015 - 9:27 am

    Growing up in North Carolina we always used the word Dinner as our large meal after church on Sunday. It would usually be about 1:30 in the afternoon. Then Sunday evening we would eat a light supper. Every other day we would have breakfast, lunch and supper.

    • Chadd -  September 17, 2015 - 6:01 pm

      We have pretty much the same thing in South Georgia. I always thought lunch referred to a light, midday meal while dinner referred to a heavier midday meal. Regardless, supper was always the evening mea .

  79. John -  September 11, 2015 - 7:17 am

    I live in Maryland and everyone I know calls it dinner. When someone says supper I find it weird.

    • Elephants -  September 15, 2015 - 4:58 pm

      Totally agree

      • Bets -  September 20, 2015 - 8:11 pm

        Same! I’m from Connecticut.

  80. Steve T -  September 11, 2015 - 5:42 am

    My terminology changes based on where I am living (or staying). If I’m back home with family, it’s dinner and supper, if I’m in the cities, it’s lunch and dinner.

    • bloozshooz -  September 17, 2015 - 11:58 am

      Are you from Minnesota by any chance. I see the term “the cities” in my favorite thrillers by John Sandford and Vidar Sundstøl…

  81. Rodolfo -  September 11, 2015 - 4:16 am

    In my opinion, dinner is always in the evening,supper is the last meal of the night.
    I think that because that vision of eat each 3 hours.

  82. qwerty -  September 11, 2015 - 1:57 am

    We have breakfast, lunch, dinner/tea and supper is a light meal or snack after tea, somtimes at a friends house, if so the adults have alcohol with it and the kids have juice or coke

  83. patrick -  September 11, 2015 - 1:08 am

    well, iam from Uganda and for me since when i grew up, i have been hearing all these types of meals but to be very honest i didn’t know there was a difference betwen dinner and supper not even knew they had different timings, its now that iam realising they are actually different, i thought dinner was only for invited people, lovers, friends and so on more like a hungout or something but atleast i knew dinner should be after midady

    • Brian -  September 21, 2015 - 8:54 am

      I’m with u Patrick lol, dinner an supper are the same let’s be real unless u wanna get into to technical definitions of them. They’re both the last meal unless ur going by the exact definition of supper or dinner

  84. Hanzo -  September 11, 2015 - 12:57 am

    oh . imagine it was dipper

  85. Michael -  September 11, 2015 - 12:33 am

    If the endpoint of the Google Ngram graph would have been extended from 2000 to 2008 to include the most recent data you can see that the use of the word “supper” is increasing again.
    “Lunch” is levelling off.

  86. country girl -  September 10, 2015 - 5:03 pm

    out where me and my family live there is no TEA, no dinner and no supper all we call it is foood. yep i know i spelt food with three o’s. i ain’t got a backspace thingy

  87. Kaylee -  September 10, 2015 - 4:53 pm

    When I think of dinner, I think that dinner is something you eat later at night. Supper is like an earlier meal, like before dinner. Not many people call their food Supper anymore… Everybody now calls their food Dinner now days.. er that what it seems like. That’s what I think.

  88. John -  September 10, 2015 - 12:31 pm

    My grandma – German family in rural Illinois, told how in the early 1900s they ate breakfast after pre-dawn chores. Around 10 am they took lunch to the men in the field (sandwiches & fruit). At noon they ate dinner. There was another lunch around 3 pm. Supper was after evening chores, usually 6 or a bit later. I eat supper in the evening. My daughter eats dinner.

  89. Julie -  September 10, 2015 - 11:22 am

    Lunch and if at home, Supper. If I go to a restaurant in the evening then I’m going out to Dinner.

  90. Miel Mani -  September 10, 2015 - 10:14 am

    I have always understood that those living in rural communities, especially farmers, refer to the noon meal as dinner and the evening meaL as dinner.

  91. Doug -  September 10, 2015 - 10:12 am

    In my family Monday through Saturday we called our meals Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, but on Sundays we called them Breakfast, Dinner, and Supper. I was so used to it it never seemed strange to me.

  92. Kerun -  September 9, 2015 - 9:07 pm

    “The word dinner does not necessarily imply the time of day.
    Depending on where you are, it may mean the midday meal or the evening meal”

    First sentence is clear but in the second sentence why insisting only on midday/evening.

    If suppose, i had main meal of the day by morning, Shall i call it as dinner?

    Someone Please clear my confusion.

    Thanks in Advance.

  93. Twyla Fox -  September 9, 2015 - 8:29 pm

    In my family and among those I grew up with, the classic ‘Three Meal’ structure was Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper. Similar to Brunch, Dinner signified a meal which occurred in the time between Lunch and Supper – quite commonly in lieu of both.

    Most notable would be Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners – generally starting around 2PM and lasting 3-4 hours

    Judging from restaurants (which often serve one long Dinner on Sunday, vs Lunch and Supper the rest of the week), formal functions (Pot Luck Dinners, etc), and the like, my family’s usage of the terms seems far from atypical.

  94. Morgalion -  September 9, 2015 - 6:16 pm

    I prefer to use Dinner as evening meal for clarity because Supper sound like Suffer (homonyms) – confusing word. 0_o

  95. CKeller -  September 9, 2015 - 5:01 pm

    That’s just me being born in Lake County, Ohio, though….

  96. CKeller -  September 9, 2015 - 4:58 pm

    Supper is an older term, used mostly by our great/grandparents, as a light evening meal. For me it has always been Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. But if I am over my grandparent’s house, it turns to Breakfast, Lunch, and supper. It was commonly used in the past for (most likely) millions of years, and is also commonly still used with the grandparents of today. But today, in generation(s) X and Y would most rather call the last meal, “dinner” instead of “supper”. We feel it is more comfortable and more quick to say.

  97. Tracey -  September 9, 2015 - 3:42 pm

    I grew up in St. Louis Missouri and if I remember right my mother would use the word supper and dinner interchangeably. I have never use the word dinner for lunch. I have always said breakfast lunch and dinner.

  98. Richard -  September 9, 2015 - 3:16 pm

    If dinner is supper and lunch is dinner in some areas of the world, what is lunch in those parts of the world?

  99. country girl -  September 9, 2015 - 11:28 am

    I’ve always said breakfast, lunch, and dinner. sometimes I will say supper. my granddaddy said that lunch was called supper.

    • Petruchio14 -  September 23, 2015 - 5:26 am

      I grew up on a farm and never considered our speech patterns to be either uneducated or rustic. We ate breakfast before morning chores somewhere between 4 and 5 AM, depending upon the time of year. At noon we had a larger meal, dinner, unless work deferred that meal. To stave off hunger we would lunch – always used as a verb. Mom or one of the girls would bring us something light; sandwiches or fruit so we could keep working and not lose the sunlight. Then dinner would come later in the afternoon. Supper was the evening meal, always lighter and served around sunset.

  100. Farm Girl -  September 9, 2015 - 9:42 am

    We have always refered to the meals as breakfast, lunch, and supper. Dinner always confused me because different sets of my grandparents use it differently. If you’re invited out for dinner, just ask what time you should arrive. That helps to remove some confusion.

  101. Betty -  September 9, 2015 - 9:25 am

    In the small town in central Kentucky where I grew up the midday meal was always dinner and the evening meal was always supper. One would have been thought to have been putting on airs if one said lunch for dinner, or dinner for supper. The noon meal was always a fairly large meal and the evening meal was whatever was left over from the noon meal or something quick and easy if there were no leftovers. A favorite meal for supper if there were no leftovers was corn meal mush, served hot with milk and butter. This will always be one of my favorite comfort foods. Leftover mush was poured into a shallow pan, sliced and fried for a side at the next day’s dinner.

  102. Jennifer A -  September 9, 2015 - 7:43 am

    I am from Trinidad in the Caribbean. When I studied Home Economics for G.C.E, my textbook said that when your last meal for the day is light, it’s called supper and the midday meal is called dinner. However, when the last meal for the day is heavy, it’s called dinner and the midday meal is called lunch. I usually eat light in the evening so it’s supper for me.

    • Steve T -  September 11, 2015 - 5:39 am

      Jennifer. I have lived in places where both are used and your explanation puts it very nicely.

  103. Brian -  September 9, 2015 - 6:26 am

    I am single and live alone, so I minimize the time I spend preparing meals. I am retired, so I no longer need three meals a day for strength to work. All I need is a bowl of cereal for a late breakfast and a good hot meal for dinner sometime between 2 pm and 6 pm, or whenever I feel like it. If I need my strength to do some hard work, I may also eat a big meat sandwich for lunch. But usually, a bowl of cereal for breakfast and a full meal in the mid-to-late-afternoon is sufficient. Any more than that just puts on the pounds, to no benefit.

    Obviously, I’m not laboring 10 or 12 hours a day like most people, so I don’t eat as much as most people – just a light breakfast and dinner, occasionally with a late evening snack.

  104. Daniel Atwill -  September 9, 2015 - 6:26 am

    I use “tea” or “tea time” the most, sometimes dinner and almost never supper.

    • Miel Mani -  September 10, 2015 - 10:14 am

      Then I would guess that you are not from the U.S.??

  105. Loveson -  September 8, 2015 - 10:07 pm

    Like I do used to say breakfast/lunch/dinner
    good to know the differences so now I will say supper instead.

  106. Andee -  September 6, 2015 - 5:48 am

    I might use the word “supper” to mock someone that is old and lives outside the city and I wouldn’t usually eat with.

    Breakfast is a meal eaten during work or school by food addicts and fitness enthusiasts at some place other than the company lunchroom or cafeteria.

    Lunch is a euphemism for, “absent from work for 25 minutes because I need a break from the chaos” It often involves a trip to McDonalds, Food Lion or sometimes Taco Bell.

    • Riley Steurer -  September 8, 2015 - 4:09 pm

      SO TRUE!!!!!! I feel for you!

    • Briezy -  September 8, 2015 - 5:14 pm

      DINNER is wht I say srry for all caps we don’t say supper cuz we just don’t :p :)

      • Caleb -  September 21, 2015 - 2:33 pm

        I say dinner too :)

    • gretz -  September 8, 2015 - 7:02 pm

      Your life sounds awful.

      • Russ -  September 13, 2015 - 5:58 pm

        I’m not THAT old and I don’t live in the city, but I wouldn’t eat with a schmuck like you anyhow. Not breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, or a midnight snack.

    • Zygote -  September 10, 2015 - 11:03 pm

      Think I would rather starve if that’s what mealtime consist of…

    • Mark -  September 11, 2015 - 11:11 pm

      Too bad you don’t have any manners to go with your airs, Andee. By the way, your parents spelled your name wrong. Is that why your so bitter?

    • maz -  September 14, 2015 - 5:59 am


    • Shirley -  September 17, 2015 - 8:18 am

      So you are a mocker……..stop it!

    • Petruchio14 -  September 23, 2015 - 5:31 am

      How very egalitarian of you to mock someone you don’t know. Keep living in your bubble, I’m sure it is very comfortable. Scarfing down lunch at a fast food place can hardly be called dining.

  107. Grace -  September 4, 2015 - 5:30 pm

    I live in Arkansas where everyone says breakfast/dinner/supper if they are 30 or older, but lots of the younger people say breakfast/lunch/dinner like I do.

    • Loveson -  September 8, 2015 - 10:00 pm

      Yes,, like I do I used to say breakfast/lunch/dinner.
      I just realize supper. now I will say supper..

    • Shirley -  September 9, 2015 - 11:09 am

      When I lived in Mo. it was breakfast, dinner and supper. Then I moved to Ca. and it was breakfast, lunch and dinner. Still say supper sometimes and yes, I’m waaay over 30!

    • Russ -  September 13, 2015 - 6:01 pm

      When you go to a relative’s or friend’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas Dinner or Easter Dinner, are you eating supper? Or a big meal closer to the middle of the day, like early afternoon? I usually do say ‘lunch’ for my typical midday meal but I try to say ‘supper’ for the evening meal. ‘Dinner’ is a large midday meal.

  108. Mondal Sukhen -  September 4, 2015 - 1:55 am

    i’m ,an indian, from kolkata.In india, we take breakfast, lunch, dinner.frankly speaking, we dont use supper.And we have our main meal at noon and we call it lunch .

    • biscuit -  September 9, 2015 - 9:46 am


      • Lulu -  September 9, 2015 - 1:26 pm

        yes, I’m from india too, and I didn’t even know people stil used supper. I thought it was an old english word. Never hear it in my home town.

      • Nugget -  September 9, 2015 - 4:36 pm

        Whats ironic is I just ate “supper’ but we call it dinner…


  109. cTg -  September 2, 2015 - 9:38 pm

    This is amazing. In Hong Kong ‘supper’ is rarely used (according to my understanding); when it is, it’s used as the alternative for ‘dinner’, which means the meal taken at night-time. It’s always been ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner’ for me. Anything outside of these 3 meals are either ‘brunch’ (which usually means a hearty meal for those who doesn’t have the time for both morning and mid-day meals, or simply woke up late on a holiday), or ‘afternoon tea’ ( which usually refers to a relaxing meal around 2 to 5pm).
    We also have a special name ‘siu ye’ for a meal that is way past the time for ‘dinner’, roughly meaning ‘late night snack’. For some people who are working odd hours, ‘siu ye’ is a main meal.

    I had no idea there are so much variations on when to use different names for different meal-times in different parts of the world. I didn’t even know the word ‘luncheon’ exists until I’ve started to read Sherlock Holmes (well it does explains a lot about why luncheon meat is called that way xd).

    • cTg -  September 2, 2015 - 9:40 pm

      *typo: so many variations

      • cTg -  September 2, 2015 - 9:42 pm

        *typo 2: it does explain

    • Irene -  September 8, 2015 - 4:03 pm

      I live in Scotland, where the word “supper” often means something like your “sui ye” (a snack or light meal eaten late in the evening). “Dinner” here can refer either to lunch or to a meal in the late afternoon/ early evening, but the latter is also sometimes called “tea”: calling it “supper” would be considered old-fashioned or pretentious in some areas (as well having potential to cause confusion).

    • Colin -  September 13, 2015 - 8:27 pm

      In Malaysia we can have all four meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper daily. Dinner is never understood as lunch. During the weekends, if you sleep in late, you might decide to have brunch instead. At about 5 to 7 pm you can have dinner and from 8 onwards you can look forward to supper. And all four meals may be similar in content e.g.you can have noodles for breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper.

    • Pauline Cahilll -  January 2, 2016 - 7:24 am

      From what you say, ‘siu ye’ is what I would call ‘supper.’

  110. Chris -  September 2, 2015 - 7:40 am

    I say breakfast, lunch, and supper. I often use the word ‘dinner’ to describe the evening meal itself: “that was a good dinner!” is what I’d say after eating supper. Also, when referring to the evening meal, I might wonder what to make “for dinner.” Or when going out to a nice restaurant, I’m likely to say I’m “going out for dinner tonight.”

    We Americans are likely to have the same volume of food at both lunch and supper; we don’t distinguish between ‘main meals.’ But if there is one meal larger than the others, it’d be the evening meal, supper, by default. In a rare instance, someone may say they had a “big lunch” and therefore don’t want much for supper. They’d still be likely to have a hot/cooked supper, just less of it.

  111. Mikey -  September 1, 2015 - 7:44 pm

    I grew up in Iowa and it was always breakfast, dinner, and supper in the evening. When I moved to Florida, it became breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner at the end of the day. Supper never used in Florida. Just like Coke and Soda. It was always Pepsi, Coke, or 7-up in Iowa and in Florida all soft drinks were called soda, no matter what the soft drink was.

    • christina mathis -  September 5, 2015 - 12:21 am

      Many Orthodox Jews, have (dairy) dinner at noon, and supper in evening because they used separate plates for dairy and meat or chicken, never pork. Two sets of dishes. Noon dinner had cottage cheese, fruits, breads, puddings.

      Dietary laws dictated Jewish behavior everyday. During the time of Jesus, Supper was the evening meal. But the Jewish Laws had health reasons also.

      Shellfish were considered the scavengers of the ocean, eating crap from the bottom of the sea. I believe back then they did not remove the intestinal tract(poop) that runs through shrimp,

      Pigs were consisted the lowest animal form. They lived in a small pen and were fed garbage. They were know to ‘eat anything’ (hence, today you ate that like a pig). Actually, pigs get a bad rap. they are clean, rolled in mud to protect their skin from the sun. Hippos and Rhinos use mud as sunscreen. Pigs are very intelligent, but when consumed, must be cooked very well, and trimmed of fat.

      We know more about the preparation, and the reasoning for food choices and preparation.
      Only the Orthodox practice the strict food preparation , as well as 2 dishes.

      Most Americans uniformly call their meals Breakfast, lunch , and dinner. Brunch is usually reserved for Sundays , combining a late breakfast and lunch together.

      • Zygote -  September 10, 2015 - 11:07 pm

        Please stick to the subject at hand.

    • Mattski -  September 9, 2015 - 5:21 am

      It depends on where in Florida you are, actually. In rural areas like North and North Central Florida, Breakfast-Dinner-Supper, much like the Old South. In the more metro areas (Miami, Tampa, Orlando, etc.) i.e.- areas with a higher influx of “Yankee Incursions,” Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner :-)
      I’ve been in various parts of Florida for most of my 55 years and that’s been my experience.

    • Jennifer -  September 12, 2015 - 12:14 am

      I live in FL and was raised in KY and I still say supper but I’m up in the panhandle.

  112. Ryan Gunning -  September 1, 2015 - 6:32 pm

    Wow this is interesting, btw im gay

    • Albert -  September 5, 2015 - 9:54 am

      BTW who cares? Or you simply trolling?

      • Zach latham -  September 8, 2015 - 6:12 pm

        Do not feed them in a civilized website. Also, I mostly use breakfast lunch and dinner but I never thought about the possibility of the differences between dinner and supper

    • Zygote -  September 10, 2015 - 11:09 pm

      So you just eat Brunch then…? LOL

    • jan -  September 12, 2015 - 4:35 pm

      In my day, btw, “gay” meant very happy! And we didn’t have to “come out of the closet” – it truly was a much happier time then.

    • Cass -  September 13, 2015 - 2:31 pm

      lol join the club

    • Pooh -  September 14, 2015 - 6:00 am

      OMG we should go out on a date some time!!!

  113. rachiti -  September 1, 2015 - 2:59 am

    I’m from central Wisconsin. I grew up saying breakfast/dinner/supper. However, when school started, I learned to call the noon meal lunch. So, it became breakfast/lunch/supper. As an adult I use breakfast/lunch/dinner like my peers. The only ones I know who still call the evening meal supper are in their 60′s or older – mostly rural folks.

    It really gets confusing when my extended family is arranging a get-together expected to happen at “dinner” since one has to attempt to discern whether they’re calling it “dinner” because that’s what the older adult said (noon meal) or because that’s what they’re saying from their 30 year old perspective (evening meal).

    • Caleb -  September 21, 2015 - 2:37 pm

      Really??? :o

  114. Sam KrumAN -  August 30, 2015 - 5:49 pm

    Wow. Oh and btw, I have to go eat “SUPPER”! lol :)

    • Minna -  September 1, 2015 - 7:23 am

      Well that’s nice

  115. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  August 29, 2015 - 2:58 pm

    So, The Last Supper, was the last-of-the-last-of-the-soup for all-time… I knew a lawyer (Class A) who’d invite his adult-children to soup at the end of the day—perhaps a way of diminuating in public conversation the ultimation in eating a feast with-that-soup…

    • Zygote -  September 10, 2015 - 11:14 pm

      Valiant effort but ultimately, total failure.

      Better luck next time…

    • jan -  September 12, 2015 - 4:38 pm

      u sound like an attorney…..

  116. mary -  August 29, 2015 - 9:51 am

    I say breakfast, lunch and dinner. when i say them together. last night i brought supper to my brother. Supper was in the evening, after the days work is done, a satisfying meal of sustenance and not over-eating, and certainly not a diet plate. a dinner is a feast, as sunday Dinner is at noon or after church. and alot of food at dinner.

  117. Seetharaman -  August 29, 2015 - 9:04 am


  118. Rad Thomas -  August 29, 2015 - 8:09 am

    What you say may well hold for the US, but in Britain using the word Dinner for a midday meal would show a lack of education. My understanding has always been that Dinner is a formal evening meal normally for adults; as opposed to High Tea which is a hot evening meal for children. Supper is an informal meal, originally taken just before going to bed, but now simply in the evening. The midday meal is always Lunch (short for Luncheon), whether formal or informal.

    Hope this is of help.

    • Ralph Livingston -  August 31, 2015 - 4:39 pm

      In small farm communities, the midday meal is still predominantly referred to as dinner. I don’t know if it is also the largest meal of the day but I suspect it is.

    • rachiti -  September 1, 2015 - 2:53 am

      Not everyone follows your version of what Brits say. Most, in my experience, follow the same terms as the US or use “tea” to refer to the evening meal.

      • Pauline Cahilll -  January 2, 2016 - 7:28 am

        I am British, to me ‘Tea’ is a light meal of sandwiches with cake, maybe scones. Inevitably with a drink of tea. I would use ‘dinner’ for a heavier meal.

    • K. Hariharan -  September 1, 2015 - 9:35 pm

      There is an interesting derivation of the term supper from colonial South India. The British here used the term Supper as an indication of a substantial meal, eaten usually after they would come back from work at around 2pm. The Tamil word for a good meal used to be ‘Unnavu’ but thanks to the British intervention, the Tamil word morphed Supper to Saapaad”. So until this day all Tamilians call their substantial meal as ‘Saapaad’. In many households ‘Saapaad’ is also used to indicate a big portion of white rice.
      And then when they consume a lighter meal or snack, the chose to call it by another British term namely ‘Tiffin’. And such a usage continues until this day too!!

    • Irene -  September 8, 2015 - 4:24 pm

      Rad, I think your perception of those in Britain who follow different linguistic conventions as displaying a “lack of education” is not only inaccurate but may be considered mildly offensive. Are school lunches not referred to even in official literature as “school dinners” in your part of Britain? In Scotland, such usage is considered quite correct.

  119. Kay Cee -  August 27, 2015 - 7:44 pm

    In Australia, some “country” folk and some “older” folk use “dinner” to mean the large (often hot) meal around midday. But these same folk would not use “supper” to mean the lighter evening meal; they say “tea”.

    When I grew up in Malaysia (a British Commonwealth country) -
    “lunch” was the midday meal,
    “dinner” was the main warm large meal in the evening and
    “supper” was the lighter meal or snack that one would sometimes have after dinner and before turning in.

    • Kay Cee -  August 27, 2015 - 7:47 pm

      And “tea” or “high tea” was the meal or snack that one would sometimes have in the afternoon between the midday meal and the evening meal, with the added distinction that “high tea” was a rather large “snack” that could well replace the need for the evening meal.

    • Tara -  September 1, 2015 - 3:24 am

      Kay Cee
      I’m an average Australian I feel you have it right this is how I was brought up, with dinner (main meal of the day) at 6pm and supper (light snack or dessert) later around 8pm before turning in at 10pm.

      And also my family alternate with calling it dinner or tea

    • alena -  September 10, 2015 - 4:52 pm

      Yea, same thing for me.. I used to get so confused when people in australia used supper/tea for dinner in the evening. It would be interesting to learn the history of meal terms in SE Asia though, I think these terms were adopted a lot later.

  120. Tom -  August 26, 2015 - 5:49 pm

    In Britain, the main meal of the day is often referred to as ‘having one’s tea’.

  121. Simon Menya -  August 26, 2015 - 5:47 pm

    It was very impressive to new people like me. Am happy it is so good.

  122. ellipsis... -  August 26, 2015 - 5:41 pm

    We were once invited for “supper” at 8pm by South African friends and we had no idea whether it was a meal or a lighter after-dinner snack with coffee, so we half-prepared ourselves by having a light meal before we went, just in case.
    As it turned out, it was the coffee and cake experience.

    When I was young, we had breakfast, dinner and tea as our three meals. Now, it’s breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    • Ralph Locke -  September 13, 2015 - 7:13 am


    • liliana -  September 17, 2015 - 4:40 pm

      i like this

  123. Hope -  August 26, 2015 - 4:42 pm

    I call the evening meal supper. I only use dinner for “nice” times.Sometimes I say lunch and sometimes dinner when I refer to Sunday afternoon meal. When we have family get togethers, I commonly say dinner and that meal does tend to be at odd times depending on everybody’s schedule.

    • Care -  June 29, 2016 - 12:54 pm

      Grew up in Detroit, parents from rural Pennsylvania…breakfast, lunch, supper. No “dinner” at our house, not in the meal descriptions at all! Mother’s family quite rural – biggest meal of the day around noon and called dinner. Supper, last meal of the day, and smaller.


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