What is Dinner?

veryDinner is considered the main meal of the day; at least in my country. In many cultures, dinner has a very important role to play. Whether for business or regular family time, dinner allows people to sit together for a common cause and createscountrycreatescountry a mode for organized communication (Chignell, Cuneo & Halteman, 2016). As it has a huge role to play in the daily life of people in many cultures, dinner etiquette has emerged to be crucial and it varies from family to business or other occasions (Mcpherson, 1998). Mealtimes today are not standard for every place. Dinner is no different. People have disagreements regarding the standard time of having dinner. Some of us have dinner at eight, while others have supper at five. According to Sherrie McMillan, the names of meals and their general times were once quite standard. Everyone in medieval England knew that you ate breakfast first thing in the morning, dinner in the middle of the day, and supper not long before you went to bed, around sundown (McMillan, 2001). Even though having dinner is a common practice in Britain and its ex-colonies, North America has a different take on it. North Americans use the terms dinner and supper interchangeably despite the terms being very different from one another. Here’s a video of 50 Americans from different states responding to the difference between dinner and supper:

In North America, the way of serving and having dinner has changed over time because of the gap between connections with British culture (Gwynn & Coren, 2015). As the US and Canada started separating from Britain and flocks of immigrants from different countries started flooding in, cultural differences in meal etiquettes were slowly growing. Canada having more British immigrants had similarities with British meal etiquettes longer but slowly the concept of breakfast and dinner got replaced with lunch and supper (McMillan, 2001).


Chignell, A., Cuneo, T., & Halteman, M. (2016). Philosophy comes to dinner: Arguments on the ethics of eating. London; New York: Routledge.

Mcpherson, W. (1998). Learning Business Etiquette at Dinner. Business Communication Quarterly, 61(4), 104-106.

Gwynn, M., & Coren, G. (2015). Back in time for dinner: From Spam to sushi: How we've changed the way we eat. London: Bantam Press.

Sherrie, M. (2001, Oct) What Time is Dinner? New York: History Magazine

Condé Nast Traveler. (2019, January 8). Do 50 People Know the Difference Between Dinner and Supper? | Culturally Speaking. Retrieved April 7, 2020, from youtube.com/ watch?v=LRlypZU_Ivg