Dinner And Supper Actually Mean 2 Different Things

There are all sorts of words we use to describe meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, brunch, luncheon, supper, midnight snack, midmorning snack. You get the point — it's just fun to have a million different terms for our favorite times of the day: eating. However, most of these terms have an understood designation. Breakfast is in the morning (unless you're having breakfast for dinner, which is an entirely different story). Lunch is around midday. Dinner is later in the day, etc.

But, what is supper? Is supper the same as dinner, or is it something separate? And, if dinner and supper are two separate things, which one comes first? Can you have both, or are they mutually exclusive? As it turns out, although most of us use the terms dinner and supper interchangeably, they actually have two different meanings. Yeah, we know, mind-blowing information. Well, hold onto your silverware – we're about to turn all the tables. 

Dinner is traditionally the largest meal of the day

According to Taste of Home, what we now call lunch used to be referred to as dinner. This midday meal was the largest meal of the day, designed to boost farmers' strength through the afternoon. The word 'dinner' actually has no time frame associated with it. Supper, on the other hand, is specifically a light meal served in the evening (via Southern Living). This made much more sense a few generations back, when families would be out in the fields working until sunset.

However, as jobs evolved and many moved to the cities, the largest meal of the day — dinner — was shifted to later in the day, when families were gathered together again at home. Nowadays, the term 'supper' is mainly used by the older generations and in Southern states. Whatever you want to call your meals, however, one thing is for certain: Food is great, and being with loved ones only makes it better.