Dinner: Wikis


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Part of the Meals series
Common meals
Breakfast · Brunch · Lunch · Tea · Dinner · Supper
Components & courses
Amuse-bouche · Appetizer · Cheese · Dessert · Drink · Entrée · Entremet · Fruit · Main course · Nuts · Salad · Side dish
Related concepts
Banquet · Buffet · Cuisine · Eating · Etiquette · Food

Dinner is the name of the main meal of the day. Depending upon region and/or social class, it may be the second or third meal of the day.[1] Originally, it referred to the first meal of the day, eaten about noon, and is still occasionally used in this fashion if it refers to a large or main meal.



Originally, dinner referred to the first meal of a two-meal day, a heavy meal occurring about noon, which broke the night's fast in the new day. The word is from the Old French (ca 1300) disner, meaning "breakfast", from the stem of Gallo-Romance desjunare ("to break one's fast"), from Latin dis- ("undo") + Late Latin jejunare ("to fast"), from Latin jejunus ("fasting, hungry").[2][3] Eventually, the term shifted to referring to the heavy main meal of the day, even if it had been preceded by a breakfast meal. The (lighter) meal following dinner has traditionally been referred to as supper.

In some usages, the term dinner has continued to refer to the largest meal of the day, even when this meal is eaten at the end of the day and is preceded by two other meals. In this terminology, the preceding meals are usually referred to as breakfast and lunch. However, even in systems in which dinner is the meal usually eaten at the end of the day, an individual dinner may still refer to a main or more sophisticated meal at any time in the day, such as a banquet, feast, or a special meal eaten on a Sunday.

Dinner courses

In many Western countries, simple dinner may consist of meat or other proteins served with vegetables and/or a grain or cereal product, like bread, potatoes, rice or pasta.[citation needed]

More elaborate dinners have several courses, for example starting with an appetizer or soup, and ending with dessert.[citation needed]

Dinner, lunch, supper and tea

In general, people in rural parts of America, Canada, and other Anglophone countries eat breakfast, dinner and supper. Germans traditionally stick to the same pattern. In these cases, dinner typically happens between midday and early afternoon. But whether town or country, wherever the dominant industry of an area involves hard labor (e.g., farming, mining, timber trade), the midday meal is an important feature because it divides the day's labor in half and provides necessary replenishment of nutrients. The evening meal is smaller than the midday meal and is commonly called 'supper'. In Scotland and northern England, supper is almost invariably called 'tea' (specifically, "high tea" - which does not indicate high formality but indicates that some kind of meat, fish, etc., is being served).

People who live in cities and towns, and especially those who work in "white collar" positions, typically eat dinner in the evening. Their midday meal is called lunch (or luncheon) and is often a small and quick meal, although a business lunch can be large, heavy and protracted.

In the north of England the word dinner usually refers to the midday meal (though it may also be used interchangeably with "lunch"), and throughout the UK the term "dinner-ladies" traditionally refers to women who cook the mid-day meal, or supervise children at this time, in schools. The evening or after-work meal is referred to as tea, and in some cases a fourth, very light meal exists immediately prior to bed-time, called "supper". In such areas, the names of meals tend to be based on the time of day they are consumed, rather than their content or relative size.

However, the upper and upper-middle classes nationwide invariably eat lunch at midday and dinner (or supper, if it is a small meal) in the evening (see U and non-U English).

On holidays, such as American and Canadian Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and occasionally on weekends, people who normally eat dinner in the evening will eat their special holiday dinner in the early afternoon.

European Mainland

In Spain, Portugal and Latinamerica, the midday meal is the main meal of the day. Therefore, the evening meal is typically served late, no earlier than 8 p.m. In most cases the evening meal is translated into English as "dinner" from the Spanish "cena", and "comida" or "almuerzo" is translated into "lunch", although this is the main meal of the day. In Portugal, the meals are divided into "pequeno-almoço", "lanche da manhã", "almoço", "lanche da tarde", "jantar" and "ceia", which refer to breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and supper.

See also


External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Simple English

Dinner is a word with a few different meanings.

In North America dinner usually means large meal that is eaten in early evening. Sometimes dinner can mean a meal eaten in the middle of the day. This meaning is more common in the Southern United States and the United Kingdom . A more formal definition of "dinner", especially outside North America, is any meal that has several courses. The minimum number of course is often regarded as two but there can be as many as seven. If there is only one course and it is the main meal of the day, then it is called dinner.

Dinner is very important to some cultures.

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