Differences Between Dinner And Supper

Some people say dinner. Some say supper. Some people even use both terms when they are talking about food. This might make you think about what each of these terms means. What is the difference between them? Is there even a difference or do they mean the same thing? Let’s examine the differences between dinner and supper (or lack thereof) now:


When people talk about a difference between dinner and supper, it often comes down to the timing of the meal. In certain instances, when people say dinner they may actually be referring to the midday meal (instead of saying lunch). When this happens, supper takes the position of the main evening meal (usually the biggest meal of the day).

Alternatively, some cultures place dinner as the main evening meal traditionally eaten around 6pm, then supper as a late light meal or snack around 10 or 11pm, prior to turning in for the night. Regardless, the difference in the term comes down to when you go to eat the meal!


In history, differences between dinner and supper actually come down to class. Of course, timing comes into play. Let’s look at it closely. While the upper class might call the midday meal lunch, in many cases the working class people use the term dinner instead. Other instances have the upper class using dinner as them for their evening meal, whereas the working class call this tea. Supper does not see a lot of difference in terms of class, though some consider this term more formal than dinner.

No Difference

In modern society, people often end up using this term interchangeably. There is often no intended difference in the meaning. Some families simply say dinner instead of supper, or supper instead of dinner. You might assume this can be an indicator of their family history in upper or working class people, but this is only a guess and there is often no basis or connection to actual fact.