Difference Between Supper and Dinner
Supper vs Dinner
In reality, the difference between supper and dinner is not just cultural, but also a personal definition. Throughout the world, dinner is considered an early meal that is eaten somewhere between 2 pm and 5 pm, while supper is a later meal eaten between 7 pm and 11 pm. This doesn’t hold true for all cultures or countries, but it is a relatively safe bet when trying to determine the difference.
In the United States, we refer to dinner as an evening meal eaten earlier, while we refer to supper as the same meal eaten later in the evening. However, in Australia, dinner would be referred to as the main evening meal, and supper would be snacks and food eaten later in the evening; which the US citizens would call a late night snack.
In Israel, school children are sent to school with two meals. Around 10 am they engage in lunch, and then around 1 or 2 pm (depending on the school) they have dinner. In the US, we would simply call this two lunches, or two snack periods.
Dinner is a primary meal eaten before supper. Supper is a primary meal eaten after dinner. Lunch can replace dinner for many, however, we have to remember that not all cultures operate on a three meal per day schedule.
Looking at the root word of each meal, you can infer a greater understanding. To sup is to eat a light meal. This could mean that we sup a light breakfast, or we sup a light evening snack before bed. To dine is to eat a heavier, primary meal of the day. Thus, if we are eating a heavy meal in the middle of the day, we can technically call it dinner. If our primary meal doesn’t happen until the evening, we can call this dinner.
1. Dinner is eaten earlier.
2. Supper is eaten later.
3. Dinner is implied by country, culture, and eating habits of the area.
4. Supper is often referred to as a meal eaten after dark.
5. Worldwide, in some countries, people eat numerous times per day, and eat dinner before supper as their second ‘lunch’.
6. When you dine, you eat a heavier primary meal.
7. When you sup, you eat a lighter meal that is not intended to be your primary meal.
8. Everything from culture to region to personal interpretation defines how we refer to meals.
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