to dine

  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I'd say that yes, dine is associated exclusively with evening meals.

    (And I live in a part of the English-speaking world where the middle-of-the-day meal is generally called dinner. There are previous threads about the names of meals in English, Adventrue ~ it's a notoriously difficult subject.)

    EDIT: Ah! here's a long one!
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I think we do it only in the evening. In my neck of the woods, one dines if one is putting on airs.

    Otherwise, we "have dinner", which, as Ewie says, might also be done in the middle of the day.
     
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    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Dining is the action of eating dinner. Dinner is not necessarily an evening meal. If the meal you eat at noon is your dinner rather than a lunch (as has certainly been common in farming areas), then you would dine at noon, and you would not eat lunch at all. If you did have dinner at noon, then the meal you had in the evening would most likely be called "supper", although in some places it would be called "tea".
     

    neal41

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Dining is the action of eating dinner. Dinner is not necessarily an evening meal. If the meal you eat at noon is your dinner rather than a lunch (as has certainly been common in farming areas), then you would dine at noon, and you would not eat lunch at all. If you did have dinner at noon, then the meal you had in the evening would most likely be called "supper", although in some places it would be called "tea".
    Etymologically 'dine' and 'dinner' are related, but in the modern world, at least for me, there is very little practical relationship between the two words. Dinner is an ordinary meal, whereas the word 'dine' suggests elegance and very possibly affectation. In other words 'to have dinner' and 'to dine' are really quite different. On the other hand an ordinary house may have a dining room in which there is a dining table.

    In my dialect 'tea' is never used for a meal, and so far as I know it is not so used in any US dialect. Tea is something you drink, most commonly with ice in it (iced tea).
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Etymologically 'dine' and 'dinner' are related, but in the modern world, at least for me, there is very little practical relationship between the two words.
    While for you there may be "very little practical relationship between the two words", for me their meanings are inseparably related. If you asked Farmer Jones what time his family usually dines, he might respond "we have dinner at noon", but I don't think there would be any question in his mind about the meaning of the question, nor do I think it likely to say "we are coarse and crude bumpkins who never dine; we merely eat dinner."

    Dinner is an ordinary meal, whereas the word 'dine' suggests elegance and very possibly affectation.
    Affectation is in the eye of the beholder. I will point out that the verb "dine" is at the root of the name of that singularly unaffected establishment, the diner.

    In my dialect 'tea' is never used for a meal, and so far as I know it is not so used in any US dialect.
    I have had more than one occasion to remind British forum members that their form of English is not the only form of of the language spoken in the world, and it is obviously now necessary to do the same on this side of the Atlantic. Please note that the word choices common in Texas are hardly to be considered the international standard by which all English speakers in both hemispheres are to pattern their own speech. While you seem unaware of it, I can assure you with much certainty that it is not at all uncommon for certain Britons to habitually refer to their evening meal as "tea". Naturally, this would be a high tea (that is, a usually working class repast, often involving cold meat, and eaten at a table) rather than an upper-class afternoon tea involving petit-fours and cucumber sandwiches.

    Tea is something you drink,
    That is one possible definition.

    most commonly with ice in it (iced tea).
    Not so. Around the world, and even just in the English-speaking world, tea is most commonly a hot beverage, which is why tea with ice in it must be called by the qualified name "iced tea". For most of the English-speaking world (including the northern parts of the United States), the phrase "hot tea" is redundant.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I tend to lean towards neal41's understanding here. A restaurant that is classified as "fine dining" doesn't necessarily serve only dinner.

    It's not unusual to see phrases such as this:

    http://amyonfood.blogspot.com/2009/08/serenbe-trip-including-brunch-at-hil.html
    Our brunch was very pleasant as we dined in the airy restaurant.

    I understand the concept of calling the largest meal of the day "dinner". My mother's side of the family always has and will point to "Thanksiving dinner" being served at 3 p.m. as an example. However, I think it is equally common to associate the name of the meal with the time of day and say, "We ate such a large lunch that we decided to skip dinner."
     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I agree with GWB's tea comments. Iced tea for years was primarily a Southern beverage, although you can find it throughout the Midwest, Central, and West, now. As a matter of fact, the worst iced tea I've ever had was in New York. It tasted like the tea bags were dipped in the water for a few seconds. But, I have had good tea, both hot and iced, in New York, as well. Under no circumstances would I expect anything but a beverage, when I asked for tea, though.

    In any case, dining has always meant 'formal eating', for me. I think part of this is because my family would sit down in the dining room and , using china and a full set of silverware, actually eat lunch or dinner together. But, I think some of that meaning comes from restaurants who bill themselves as 'fine dining' establishments. They often serve lunch and dinner, and on the weekends, they may even serve brunch to those who needed additional sleep for whatever reason. In any case, I've always felt that they lay claim to fine dining status based on the linens, silver, and china, not the quality of the food.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Moderator reminder: this thread is about the verb dine, which, I suppose, will inevitably cause folks to talk about what dinner is. It is not about tea or any other meal; it's particularly not about 'iced tea' (whatever that is;)):)

    (Some of the following may be just repetition.) In My Real World I simply never use the verb dine. I wouldn't necessarily call it 'affected', just 'far too grand'. In the middle of the day I have my dinner; in the evening I have my tea. I suspect that 99.4% of Brits who have 'lunch' and 'dinner', have both meals.
    If I was asked the question What time do you dine?, my answer would be We have our tea at 8 o'clock.
     
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