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Thread subject: Supper/Dinner
Name Date Message
Kelly 08/29/07 05:36 pm I was going to post these remarks on the OD, but thought better of it. Far be it for me, the newbie, to go off protocol.

I think clarification might be needed for my reference to "supper". In Nova Scotia (Cape Breton more specifically) our evening meal is called supper; dinner is what we have at noon time; and lunch in most cases is what we have as a snack before bedtime. Just had to get that in.
Tim P 08/29/07 06:43 pm Now Im hungry.
Kelly 08/29/07 06:49 pm Well you should have just had dinner - or at least very soon - and don't forget about lunch before you say good-night!
Tiger 08/29/07 08:57 pm No I have ever heard of having lunch at night...until now that is.
Kelly 08/29/07 09:10 pm Well, like the rest of you, I'm here to educate ... we learn something new everyday, right? BTW: I had a toasted peanut butter sandwich and hot chocolate for my lunch tonight!
Madeline 08/30/07 12:07 am No jelly with the peanut butter? For shame on you...LOL I love PB&J on a toasted english muffin, Yummm! I assume breakfast is still the first meal of the day.
Kelly 08/30/07 06:16 am Yes, breakfast is the first & most important meal of the day ... even though I usually skip it.
Tim P 08/30/07 08:51 am In my best Homer Simpson voice, (Donuts)
cheryl 08/30/07 09:35 am I didn't realize, until I saw Lord of the Rings, that there really were meals like second breakfast, and elevenses. I thought it was just something Tolkein invented for hobbits. I thought that was interesting. But lunch at night? That fascinates me. I would really be intererested in finding out the origin (about when and where) of the use of the word lunch for an evening snack. Now that I'm thinking about it, does it have something to do with the way Scots use the word lunch? --Just thinking of the origin of Nova Scotia.
Mickey 08/30/07 10:23 am I just ate but Im thankful you posted that here and not there lol
Kelly 08/30/07 10:33 am Cheryl, you make a good point with reference to Scotland ... I'll have to look into that.

For those who may not know Nova Scotia is translated as "New Scotland."
Sir Lance 08/30/07 11:07 am I was raised Eating Breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were taught that the word supper was.... how should I put it? Slang, I guess is the nicest way I can put it.
Kelly 08/30/07 11:20 am Oh, those are fightn' words! LOL
Kelly 08/30/07 06:53 pm I have to admit Iâve become quite curious about the reference to supper and dinner. And Iâll further admit, I did feel I was somehow being challenged ;) So here is what my investigation turned up ⦠(bear with me please):

According to, supper is the last of the 3 main meals of the day; usually light, especially if âdinnerâ is taken at midday. Reference is also given to Christâs Last Supper.

Dinner is defined as the main meal of the day, in the evening OR, OR at midday ⦠a more formal affair, mind you.

Now lunch is defined as the midday meal, or any light meal or snack. I did not find reference to lunch being served before bedtime (shucks!).

Itâs quite possible that, say centuries ago, and probably in more rural areas, the main meal was served at midday with a light meal (i.e. supper) in the evening. That being the case, then it would make sense to have a lunch - or âlight snackâ - before bedtime.

In my neck of the woods (at least in Cape Breton where I grew up; less so in Halifax - being a more urban centre -- and letâs not get on the topic of the use of âreâ or âerâ in the spelling of words ⦠weâll just agree to disagree, okay?), hereâs how itâs understood:
Breakfast (morning) = breakfast
Dinner (at noon) = light meal
Supper (in the evening) = main meal
Lunch (before bedtime) = light snack

Now thatâs my 2 cents. Okay Iâm âlaughing out loud'!
Mickey 08/30/07 07:20 pm And in the farming community,the biggest meal of the day is breakfast or the very first meal.
Kelly 08/30/07 07:32 pm Funny you would say that ... I did find the following reference for the word dinner:

"... Middle English diner not only meant 'breakfast' but, echoing usage of the Old French word diner, more commonly meant 'the first big meal of the day, usually eaten between 9 A.M. and noon'..."
Kelly 08/30/07 08:14 pm Oh, and here's another intersting reference for dinner in

"1297, from O.Fr. disner, originally 'breakfast,' later 'lunch,' noun use of infinitive disner (see dine). Always used in Eng. for the main meal of the day; shift from midday to evening began with the fashionable classes." ... (need I say more, Sir Lance?) ... "Childish reduplication din-din is attested from 1905."
Madeline 08/30/07 11:59 pm Wow, whoever thought eating would be so complicated. Maybe if I spent more time thinking about which meal I should be eating, I'd loose some weight....hummm...this could be a new diet craze!

When I want to meet my cousins for dinner and a movie, I always ask, " do you want to for din-din- and a movie?" OK, so I'm
cheryl 08/31/07 08:00 am If breakfast is the first meal of the day, then how can some restaurants (like diners and IHOP) advertise "breakfast served all day". I guess it should be "breakfast food served all day", or are the people eating "breakfast" at 6:00PM having their first meal of the day? Is everyone who skips a meal in the morning and has their first main meal at about noon eating breakfast?--or is it still lunch, or dinner depending on where on these people live? If I haven't lost everyone yet, is the name of the meal determined by the time one eats it, (morning, afternoon or evening) or by the dictionary definition of the first, second, or third meal of the day? I love this stuff. Isn't language just great? Anyway, I'm going to eat some breakfast,( I'm sure it's breakfast), not just because it is 8:00 in the morning but because it is also my first meal of the day! :-))
Kelly 08/31/07 09:48 am Boy, I certainly didn't intend for my explanation on the use of the term "supper" to lead to this array of responses ... but it is great fun!
Sir Lance 08/31/07 05:36 pm If you were a Mainer you would say suppa not supper.. lol
DaisyG 09/01/07 06:14 am All interesting stuff, good to learn other people's customs. BTW welcome from me Kelly.

Coming from the UK, I have only ever known 'lunch' as a meal eaten around midday to early afternoon.
Kelly 09/01/07 07:14 am Ah, but don't the Brits also have "tea"? ... as I understand this happens mid-late afternoon and includes a light snack?
cheryl 09/01/07 09:02 am My British relatives were here with me until yesterday (sniffle, sniffle) and I had the opportunity to ask them about "lunch". The response was this:
Breakfast in the morning, Dinner in the afternoon,
Tea in the evening (6,7 8 PM or so)
Supper --Late night meal or snack before bedtime

They live in the north of England and tea is a full evening meal, not the afternoon snack that I had at 3:00PM in London. They also told me that this is regional thing in England as well. It is more common to find references to breakfast, lunch and dinner in the south of England. However, a former English neighbor of mine, who came from a town in the southern England, not far from Brighton, always served her children "tea" between 5 and 6 PM. I guess there will always be exceptions.
Any comments from the communal British community?

Copyright © 2007 DPOF

Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 17, 2007