Meals: So that brings us back to dinner? supper? lunch?

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Senior Member

"I love lunching, but that’s usually a bad time for busy people, especially if they are on the road. So that brings us back to dinner.
One answer is to take another colleague or client to the dinner so that no one can think it is a tete-a-tete."

At first, it was hard for me to understand "dinner" here. For I seem to have learned from various textbooks on culture that British or American people eat cold supper, so I figure that dinner, a former meal, for them should be the lunch, when the food is cooked hot. However, considering the fast pace of life, the great distance from home and office for city residents, it is very unlikely that modern working staff would return home to have a dinner (formal meal of a day), instead they would probably just take a fast-food, or things like that.

Obviously only when "dinner" in the quoted sentence means "supper", can the sentence make sense. But then how to explain the contradiction about how you natives cook supper? Do you eat cold supper very often? That is say, is supper ususally made at noon? Or did you use to eat that way?

By the way, does "tete-a-tete " means a date?
  • tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Our main meal of the day is in the late afternoon or evening. Lunch is usually sandwiches, salads, soup or leftovers. I cook one main meal after five o'clock. Dinner and supper can be used interchangeably, and usually mean the evening meal. On farms a large meal is often prepared at noon for the hard working field hands, this is dinner, not supper. I am sure there are other examples of this. Tete-a-tete is a French term meaning head to head literally. In English we use it to mean an intimate or private meeting between two people.


    Senior Member
    USA English

    Dinner is a much discussed topic in this forum. If you look up dinner in the WR dictionary at the top of this page you will find a list of threads that include the word in the title. There are AE/BE differences, and more.



    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Dinner in this context means the evening meal.

    Your post includes a number of misunderstandings about eating habits, names of meals, times of meals, and characteristics of meals, that are going to be very difficult to resolve.

    In the Cultural Discussions forum, THIS THREAD might be helpful in explaining some of these issues - though it may also be confusing because it is clear that there is great variety. Tepatria has given you one version. I'll give you another.

    Early morning - breakfast.
    Middle of the day - lunch. Either hot or cold, but usually not very much - need to be awake after lunch.
    Early evening, unless it's a special occasion - dinner. Usually hot, home-cooked, delicious :D
    Late evening, sometimes - supper, always light.

    A meal eaten in the middle of the day could not be called supper.
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