Dinner vs. Supper

What is the difference between dinner and supper?

Even though dinner and supper refer to a meal, there is a difference between them. Dinner is eaten earlier in the day than supper. Dinner refers to a meal that you have between 2 and 5 p.m. whereas supper is a meal that you have between 7 and 11 p.m. However, the time schedule plays a part in the difference between the way the words are used in different parts of the world. There is also a difference in various cultures. The definition of supper is a meal that you have after dark. In some countries, people have supper before dinner and dinner is seen as a second lunch.

Dinner is a larger meal than supper and this is one of the chief differences between the words. Supper is a light meal of the day and in this way it is different from dinner.

In some countries of the world where people eat three meals a day, dinner is the evening meal and lunch is the name given to the lighter meal. Lunch is the midday meal and dinner is the evening meal. Some cultures prefer to have the main meal in the evening, but in other cultures people have the main meal earlier in the day and prefer to have something lighter later in the evening to sustain them until breakfast the next morning.

Supper is a word that is commonly used by Americans to refer to the evening meal when all the members of the family dine together. Dinner refers to a meal that you have when you are entertaining or having a meal with people that you have just met.


  1. Dinner is the main meal of the day eaten between 2 and 5 p.m. Supper is a lighter meal eaten between 7 and 11 p.m.
  2. Eating habits vary with cultures.
  3. In all cultures the lighter meal is eaten in the evening.


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