Dinner or supper?

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Posted 3/22/2014 by AKathy in NSBR Board
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PeaNut 568,351
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Posted: 3/23/2014 10:37:21 AM
I'm from Michigan and have never used the word supper.


PeaNut 329,346
July 2007
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Loc: Saskatchewan

Posted: 3/23/2014 10:48:51 AM
Supper - I eat dinner at noon.

My boyfriend always says dinner and it drives me batty. I am from Saskatchewan and he is from Manitoba. He is 58 and I am 38 that probably has more to do with it than anything.

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PeaNut 66,309
February 2003
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Loc: Central Iowa

Posted: 3/23/2014 10:54:22 AM
Supper. Central Iowa. I grew up on a farm, if that matters.


PeaNut 596,666
October 2013
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Posted: 3/23/2014 11:00:34 AM
I've never been so confused about what I call my meals until this thread but normally I use dinner. However I work retail and many times my lunch break is at 4pm. I eat a larger lunch at this time which I guess could be called dinner, but I feel strange saying I'm going to dinner so I still call it lunch.
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PeaNut 28,992
February 2002
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Loc: UK

Posted: 3/23/2014 11:04:29 AM
This Brit says dinner but my parents say tea. Their tea is the main meal of the day at around 5:30 and is always cooked and hot. They have supper just before bed which is usual a slice of toast and a cup of tea.

I have dinner anytime between 6 and 8pm it's usually my main meal of the day but not always. I never have food just before bed.



PeaNut 267,237
July 2006
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Loc: Easton, Massachusetts

Posted: 3/23/2014 11:07:10 AM
I love in New England so we have supper most nights, dinner another nights and pizza the rest.

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PeaNut 184,535
January 2005
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Posted: 3/23/2014 11:27:22 AM
Dinner here in western colorado.

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PeaNut 506,197
April 2011
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Posted: 3/23/2014 11:36:36 AM

I use them interchangeably, but probably use the term dinner more often.

Same here. I grew up in Texas.

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PeaNut 163,613
August 2004
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Posted: 3/23/2014 12:38:59 PM

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PeaNut 90,289
June 2003
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Posted: 3/23/2014 12:48:11 PM
I refer to meals as breakfast, lunch, & dinner. However, I grew up with breakfast as the morning meal, dinner mid-day, & supper around 5:00p.

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PeaNut 168,696
September 2004
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Posted: 3/23/2014 12:55:25 PM
Dinner - all members of family call it Dinner, but husband's grandparents definitely called it Supper. (Midwest/Nebraska born and raised) "Supper" wasn't carried on by my MIL

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PeaNut 96,783
July 2003
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Posted: 3/23/2014 2:29:44 PM
Dinner for a noon meal comes from farming. Men working the land needed a hearty meal at noon to keep going until nightfall and the women were home to fix the heavy meal then. They then had a light supper in the evening. Even though many people who have dinner at noon and supper at night live other types of life, the terms remain in certain areas.

My family always had lunch at noon and dinner at night. Some people may even have lunch at noon and supper at night. I think of them as just words used by a particular family. My Uncle's wife, however, got her feathers all in a fluff one time when I offered to help her with dinner late one afternoon. I wanted DINNER again? Woman was a bit to ridged for the rest of us!


PeaNut 85,462
May 2003
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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:22:14 PM
I worked with someone that referred to lunch as supper. That's how it was said in her family.


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PeaNut 166,713
September 2004
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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:23:11 PM
Here in New Zealand, it's tea. And a friend will invite us out for 'a bite' which could be any meal depending on context.

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PeaNut 376,677
May 2008
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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:27:50 PM
I use both, but probably supper more. I grew up hearing/saying supper in Northern New England.

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PeaNut 250,388
February 2006
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Posted: 3/23/2014 3:41:12 PM
Growing up it was supper. But now I use it interchangeably. My parents grew up in the south and dinner, the biggest meal of the day, was lunch. And supper was a lighter meal in the late afternoon/evening.


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PeaNut 151,913
June 2004
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Loc: Derbyshire, England

Posted: 3/23/2014 4:38:30 PM

Lunchtime meal can be known as lunch or dinner (lunch would be a light meals such as sandwiches or jacket potato, dinner would be something more substantial like the traditional roast dinner on Sunday).

Supper is light snack before bedtime.

I'm in the north/middle of England.


PeaNut 425,771
June 2009
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Posted: 3/23/2014 4:55:36 PM
My husband and I both grew up in Texas and grew up with "supper." Our parents are all from the south. Now we call our evening meal "dinner." I don't know when or why we made the change but that's what our kids call it.
ETA: we still live in Texas
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PeaNut 49,641
September 2002
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Posted: 3/23/2014 4:57:57 PM
Growing up, dinner was our bigger afternoon meal, tea was around 4 and lunch was a lighter meal we ate in the evening before bed. The name had more to do with the size than the timing of the meal.

Now, lunch is mid-day, dinner is in the evening.

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PeaNut 595,029
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Posted: 3/23/2014 5:02:51 PM

jacket potato

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PeaNut 319,638
May 2007
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Posted: 3/23/2014 6:23:16 PM
Dinner. Both of my grandmothers called it supper thought, and they were from different parts of the country. Everyone i knew that called it supper was older, I've always thought it was a generational word.

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PeaNut 2,698
February 2000
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Posted: 3/23/2014 6:53:36 PM
dinner. although a bite in the afternoon if we dont have lunch.

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PeaNut 231,164
November 2005
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Posted: 3/23/2014 9:37:21 PM
Supper. Dinner is the noon meal. I grew up in ND. Living where I do now it is moreso lunch and dinner instead. My poor DS gets so confused when we go back to ND. Lol.


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PeaNut 287,526
December 2006
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Posted: 3/23/2014 9:46:12 PM
I'm native Californian and I've always said dinner. However, my grandparents were from South Dakota and always called lunch "dinner" and dinner was "supper".

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PeaNut 359,731
January 2008
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Posted: 3/23/2014 10:01:09 PM
Dinner for the humans and supper for the kitties. Kitties get wet food when it's their supper time.

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Texan Peain In Minnesota

PeaNut 106,301
September 2003
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Loc: Boonies , Minnesota( Proud Texan From The Rio Grande Valley)

Posted: 3/23/2014 10:13:24 PM
We call it supper.

Growing up in Texas it was breakfast,lunch and supper. On Sundays though we called evening meal Sunday dinner.

My husbands family here in Minnesota call lunch"dinner" and evening meal is called supper.


PeaNut 553,267
May 2012
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Posted: 3/23/2014 10:52:26 PM
I've heard both but I've always called it 'dinner' (I'm in Canada)....
DH called it 'tea' but he's from New Zealand....


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PeaNut 110,613
October 2003
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Posted: 3/23/2014 11:00:36 PM
Dinner on the west coast of Canada. I can't stand the word supper. I don't know why.


PeaNut 327,469
July 2007
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Posted: 3/24/2014 4:24:32 AM
Seattle pea here...I use them interchangeably but that's because my parents and grandparents are from other parts of the US. It would get a bit confusing at times depending on which relative you were speaking with.

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PeaNut 87,597
May 2003
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Posted: 3/24/2014 7:23:51 AM
Dinner. I can't stand the term "supper".

I have lived in a few different states (Maryland, PA, Michigan, also have family in VA, NC, FL) and always hear dinner.

The few times I hear "supper" it is by people in my grandparent's generation.

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PeaNut 199,404
April 2005
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Posted: 3/24/2014 7:38:26 AM

Grew up in New England (both parents from CT) - supper was an informal family meal in the kitchen, and dinner was more formal, in the dining room, with company over. Supper was come-as-you-are, while dinner was nicer clothes.

Dinner denotes the main meal of the day... It isn't about "when" but if it is the main meal or not.

Both of these hold true for me. I'm a new Englander as well. Lunch is always noonish, supper is always evening, and neither of them need be anything special. But either can be replaced by a dinner, which is the main meal of the day, a planned meal, a sit down meal, requiring table manners and actual clothing (not swimsuits or pajamas).

(Can you tell that my standards for lunch and supper are considerably lower?)

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PeaNut 274,600
August 2006
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Posted: 3/24/2014 7:45:58 AM
Supper when I was going up. Lunch was dinner!

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PeaNut 6,331
August 2000
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Posted: 3/24/2014 8:06:33 AM
Born and bred in New England and it is always supper to me. Or, as they say on the Hopper commercials...suppah!!!

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PeaNut 14,521
April 2001
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Loc: Washington State

Posted: 3/24/2014 8:10:16 AM
It's always been dinner for me. Grew up on the West Coast.

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PeaNut 351,443
December 2007
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Posted: 3/24/2014 8:23:23 AM
I am in SE MI and call it dinner. My dad's side of the family mainly lives in the thumb area and call it supper. My dad also calls it supper once in awhile.

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PeaNut 96,097
July 2003
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Loc: North Alabama

Posted: 3/24/2014 9:22:25 AM
Breakfast - lunch - dinner in my household. I grew up in Alabama (family originally from Ohio), and it seems like quite a few families here do Breakfast - dinner - Supper. Supper sounds weird to my ears though.

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PeaNut 416,788
March 2009
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Posted: 3/24/2014 9:41:33 AM
I say dinner and my dh said supper.

He considered dinner to be the big meal at lunchtime, and my mother considers supper to be a light meal in the evening.

I really don't care, though. Just as long as I know what to expect, I'm good.

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PeaNut 175,158
November 2004
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Posted: 3/24/2014 10:04:27 AM
Dinner. Texas

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PeaNut 74,971
March 2003
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Posted: 3/24/2014 10:14:57 AM

Mostly supper.

Sometimes dinner, but generally only used in the context of "going out to dinner." As in asking someone if they want to go out to dinner.

I live in the south, grew up in the south, my parents grew up in the south, my grandparents grew up in the south and their parents grew up in the south.


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PeaNut 412,345
February 2009
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Posted: 3/24/2014 10:21:09 AM
I'm from the deep south. I say "What do you want for dinner" or "What's for dinner" but most people older than me say Supper.

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PeaNut 224,352
September 2005
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Posted: 3/24/2014 9:15:44 PM
Dinner. I cannot stand the word supper.

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PeaNut 233,234
November 2005
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Posted: 3/25/2014 2:24:37 AM
It's tea for us in the far north of Scotland.

However, if you are inviting folk for a meal in the evening you would probably invite them for dinner, and describe the evening as a dinner party if it is formal.

Lunch is in the middle of the day, and for me, supper is just a wee snack before bedtime, and isn't something I've ever been in to.

To complicate matters further, the meal served to kids at lunch time in schools is often referred to as school dinners, and you buy dinner tickets.


PeaNut 233,234
November 2005
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Posted: 3/25/2014 2:33:20 AM
My American friend when she lived her, used to ask some of the neighbours round for tea (she drank tea) which would require a bit of clarification, because having someone over for tea is inviting them for an informal evening meal in the early evening ( ie, not a dinner party at 8pm, but just a cooked meal like you would serve to the family in the evening). In the UK, it is always having someone over for coffee, regardless of whether people are actually drinking tea or coffee, if you are inviting them for a hot drink, cake and a chat.


PeaNut 337,400
September 2007
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Posted: 3/25/2014 5:51:04 AM
I agree with the "when" people. If it's your main meal, regardless of whether it's mid-day or evening, it's "dinner". If it's a light meal in mid-day, it's "lunch". If it's a light meal in the evening, it's "supper".

I'm a Texan living in England. I can never get used to people saying "Come 'round for tea" when they mean EAT not DRINK.

And do you say "cook supper" or "fix supper"? It may be a southern/Texas thing, but when I said I have to go home and fix supper, a little English girl looked puzzled and asked if it was broken!!


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