A question of great importance

Linda Bittle
Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

So, do you call your evening meal dinner or supper?

Back in Missouri we called it supper. When I moved to the Seattle area, it was dinner. Here in Idaho, it seems like it depends on who I'm talking to. For me, it will always be supper. Dinner is at noon, but I'll accept the word lunch, too.

I almost got into trouble once (in Washington) at a first aid training when they were using me to demonstrate how to assess level of consciousness. The question was, did I know what time it was...and since it was nearly noon, I answered that it was about dinner time. I thought I was going to get a real assessment and probably some unwarented treatment just because they use the wrong word for the noon meal.


  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When I learned English I was told "the middle meal of the day is Lunch, & the last meal is Supper", & when later others called it dinner, I thought they were confused, lol

    & @Mary Linda Bittle - okay, allow me to explain why (when normally I vote posts Awesome, or Up), this time I voted your post with an LOL = When i got to the part of you saying " training when they were using me to demonstrate how to ..." - immediately my mind went back to that fateful day in nursing school when the dummy broke for practicing How to pass/secure an NG-tube. - And guess who the profs talked... into playing the DUMMY, sigh. - And there were no less 13+ student nurses who got a turn doing it to me. But after about the 5th. attempt it no longer mattered that they only used a preemie-tube. - And then came Lunch, while my poor epiglottis was way too traumatized ! to lie down, & I was choking on EVERYthing in the cafeteria... in front of no less some Med-students eager to practice... doing TRACHS, YIKES !! - Fortunately some kind soul intervened. - But needless to say I never did that again. - Instead I ended up doing ever dumber things as time went on, all in the name of "I can help".

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    My immediate family says "breakfast, lunch, supper" My cousins insist it is "breakfast, dinner, supper" But growing up I knew a lot of people said "breakfast, lunch, dinner" I have live most of my life in the mid-atlantic states, far as regions are concerned.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For me, is Breakfast, lunch and dinner or if I'm really really hungry, it's... get out of the way lol rof...

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    Grew up in the south, so its breakfast, dinner, supper. Have lived all over this country and enjoy the different accents/words/phrases particular to different regions. Once in Boston, MA where milkshakes are called frappes, my NC father ordered a milkshake and was surprised when the waitress brought a glass of milk she had carefully shaken. While visiting my daughter, I requested her CT roommate "leave the door open" which to this southern girl means "unlocked". The roommate took it quite literally and left the door wide open. LOL

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,515 admin

    Canada (as far as I know, it is across the country)...breakfast, lunch/dinner, supper.

    It was the strangest thing when I went to Wyoming and other states there & they said dinner for the evening meal. I chalked it up to a cultural difference just like bags vs. sacks & pavement vs. blacktop.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I once heard that it depended on if you grew up rural or in town. Dinner being the big meal that the women would take to the men in the fields at noon, and supper would be a lighter meal in the evening. Don't know if that's true, but we were farm people. Although the days of taking dinner to the field hands was long over by the time I was a kid, we just always used the word "dinner" for the noon meal.

    I think it's really interesting to learn about regional differences. My Dad always said "warsh" for wash and "Warshington" for Washington. I have no idea why. He was adopted, and I don't recall anyone else saying it that way.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,515 admin

    @Mary Linda Bittle I never heard that until I went south. I personally found it irritating as there is obviously no "r" in those words. I am a stickler for proper spelling, so that is why it bothered me.

    Scrabble must be tough to play for those folks.

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    My parents called the evening meal supper, but there were enough people in my area using the names interchangeably that I felt it was an individual preference, like sofa/couch, soda/pop. By the time I grew up, I settled on Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. I don’t recall people referring to Supper where I live, on the west coast Oregon. There probably are occasional references, but my mind just auto translates it.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,457 admin

    Supper... I reckon.

  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 577 admin

    Midwest is dinner.

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle and @Laurie well, if you like "warsh", you'll love "woosh". Yes, that is how some of my family members pronounce it, and I occasionally catch myself doing it. It rhymes with "push"

    As for the the dinner/supper issue, I did read an article several years ago about it. I think it said, more or less, that originally breakfast, dinner, supper, was the standard for middle to upper class British/Americans. Sometime in the 1800's the trendy times for meals started changing, with dinner getting pushed later into the day. Eventually lunch began because dinner had gotten so late, and sometimes completely replaced dinner. I might be getting this a little mixed, however.

    I do know there was a certain amount of status involved in when you have your meals. In the novel Wives and Daughters(Great read, highly recommend) One of the characters is middle class, former-governess who desperately aspires to live like her rich employers. It mentions a few times that she wouldn't eat a meal, even though she was very hungry, because it wasn't upper class to eat it that early in the day.

    While I'm on that rabbit trail, in the middle ages there were class distinctions when it came to breakfast. The following comes from this link http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD/Brakng-t-Fast-art.html

    From "Fast and Feast"  by Bridget Ann Henisch

         "The ideal number of meals was considered to be two, dinner and supper.  An everyday supper was a much lighter affair than dinner, and eaten at sunset.  In his sixth-century Rule for monks, St. Benedict stressed the point: 'At all times, they must so manage the hour of the meal ... that it is in daylight.'

         "It is hard to decide how widely accepted breakfast became in the period.  In theory it had no existence: grown men held out until the proper time.  In practice it was not unknown:  grown men were human.  As a result, breakfast leads a slightly furtive existence in the records.  To compound confusion, until the meal had been established, the word could be applied with perfect propriety to dinner. ... (the writer) Caxton, in his English and French Dialogues begins a specimen menu with the ominous words 'We shall breke our fast with trippes [tripe],' goes on to list as the other features of the meal an ox foot, a pig's foot, and a head of garlic, and ends with evident satisfaction 'So shall we breke our faste.'  ... Caxton's bill of fare seems dauntingly substantial for anyone to face fresh from his bed, and we may assume that here too the "break fast" intended is dinner.

         "Breakfast may perhaps be described, by the later Middle Ages, as an optional extra.  Those who did hard, heavy work could expect to have a bite to eat before the midday meal, though Tusser briskly reminds employers that this is to be regarded as a privilege, not a right:

               'No breakefast of custome provide for to save,

               but onely for such as deserveth to have.'

         Other groups of people sometimes indulged with breakfast were the old, the sick, and the very young. Even in monasteries the invalids and the young novices were allowed to eat something before none.  

         Perhaps because of ... associations with childhood and infirmity, there lingered on for a long time a certain feeling of apology and embarrassment when a grown man admitted to eating breakfast.  It was often regarded as a weakness, to be disguised if possible as something quite different: 'This is no brekefast: but a morsell to drynke with.' (William Horman, Vulgaria  1519)  A businessman in fourteenth-century Prato carefully explained that the only reason he ate some roasted chestnuts every morning before going out was to please his wife: 'she pampers me, as I do her.'  

         Not only did workmen usually eat breakfast; they were also fortified in the course of the day with 'nuncheons.'  These little snacks had become accepted fringe benefits by the 15th century, and they were noted down on wage sheets as a matter of course. In 1423, the Company of Brewers in London listed two kinds of payment, in money and in food, for the casual laborers it employed: 'Robert, dawber, for his dawbyng'  received four pence 'with his noonnchyns'; two carpenters making a gutter got eightpence each 'with here Nonsenches.'(The Brewer's First Book - 1423)"

    I have to admit, I find men apologizing for eating breakfast to be amusing.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭

    Truly depends on context, who you’re with, if you are being informal or formal, or what you feel comfortable saying. “I’m going to dinner with friends.” “I’m having X for supper.” They both have similarities, and state correct speech. Perhaps which preposition is used before the noun (dinner, supper).

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,515 admin

    Thanks @blevinandwomba for the history lesson. It was interesting.

    Now, I did a little more thinking. Where someone here might say, "I'm going out for a fancy dinner," they mean an evening meal (supper, here). Those special times are not generally understood to be noon.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Iv guess I'm pretty focused on food! And here's my favorite food quote from Lord Of The Rings:

    Aragorn: Gentlemen! We do not stop 'til nightfall.

    Pippin: But what about breakfast?

    Aragorn: You've already had it.

    Pippin: We've had one, yes. But what about second breakfast?

    [Aragorn stares at him, then walks off.]

    Merry: Don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.

    Pippin: What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he?

    Merry: I wouldn't count on it.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    In Australia its usually breakfast (brekkie), lunch and dinner or (din dins or tea or teatime) ! I guess a lot of cross overs from England, Europe and North America. We are buggers for shortening words or slang. If you'd like some examples, I'd be happy to oblige.

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    Oooh, @jodienancarrow I want to hear to your short words.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, @jodienancarrow , please share more!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,515 admin

    I agree with the above requests!

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    Ok, so I thought about this and yes a lot of words do get shortened but some don't and that's to add humour or to accentuate. My mother named me Jodie thinking it couldn't be shortened but I got Jode or better still Jode the toad who lives down the road! There are plenty of rude ones but I will refrain. Here goes. Arvo - afternoon, brolly - umbrella, barbie - barbeque, Maccas - McDonalds, mate - friend, hoo roo - goodbye, servo - fuel station(garage), pash - romantic kiss, shiela - woman, bloke - man, dunny - bathroom, ta - thank you, dag - funny, nerdy, geeky person, gob - mouth, ute - pickup truck, chinwag - to have a conversation, coldie - ice cold beer, vino - wine, chockers - extremely full, togs - swimming costume, budgie smugglers - male swimming costume(usually small stretchy material) thongs - traditional aussie summer footwear, crook - feeling unwell, bottle o - liquor store. So there's a few. I will leave you with this and see if you can translate !

    This arvo, my daggy mate just hopped in his ute wearing thongs and budgie smugglers, drove to the bottle o because at the barbie they were running out of coldies and vino.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,515 admin
    edited November 2019

    We used to have the same meaning for thongs in Canada until someone invented the string underwear...then Canadians adopted the American "flip-flops" term for summer sandals.

    Budgie smugglers...😊 That is funny.

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    I grew up saying it's dinner, but when we go to our family farm for Reunion dinner is served promptly at 2 PM, thereby making the evening meal supper as my best friend growing up and his family used to call their evening meal.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    I grew up saying -breakfast-dinner-supper- Sometime along the way it changed to -breakfast-lunch- dinner--now I break my meals into four smalls a day so it it breakfast-lunch-dinner-supper

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭

    I grew up saying breakfast, lunch,dinner. A few years back I met a Canadian and now say brekkie. Though, dinner can mean dinner because it's the last meal for that day, especially on Sunday to have brekkie then dinner at 2pm. All other days are all three meals. Thanks for sharing those lovely terms @jodienancarrow !

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,515 admin
    edited December 2019

    @VickiP It sounds like you figured it out and got the best of both worlds. 🤗

    @teachercaryn "brekkie is not Canadian, but as stated is Australian. But, if you met a Newfie (from Newfoundland) all bets are off. They have their own language thingy going on there that is certainly not representative of Canada.

    You have to consider the background & experiences of the person. We have a lot if cultures from around the world, and of course, some watch tv and travel so may have thought the term sounded cool.

    I have a story to add to this. When I was in school in the US, I certainly identified myself as Canadian. I identify as Mennonite as well as they are my people. The language is German, either low German or high german (the official german). There are terms for each, but I won't bother you all with that. Anyway, so many people assumed that my accent (German) was actually Canadian. Yes, there will be some things (word pronunciations) that will show that upbringing. BUT I had one girl ask me to speak Canadian. So I said okay. I kept talking. She requested it again. I laughed and said that English or French are the official languages and there are many other languages, dialects & cultures within Canada. Sadly...she didn't get it. Oh well.

    When I came back, my mother exclaimed that I sounded American. I am sure that is all gone by now and I am as German accented as ever. Haha

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    @Laurie You reminded me of a story my boss told me. She grew up in Eastern pa- she isn't Pennsylvania Dutch but many in that area are. Her brother learned to speak PA Dutch, then when he went to college he studied High German for several years. Then he got a job in Germany(not sure where) and discovered that the locals couldn't understand his German- but they did his Pennsylvania Dutch.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    Grew up in Houston, and it was breakfast-lunch-dinner. My mom is from Iowa, and my dad is from Louisiana, so I kind of had both Midwest and Southern influences and it was always "dinner."