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Instead of the Dishes » Homemaking, Mommyhood, There's a Word for That » There’s a Word for That: Mealtimes

There’s a Word for That: Mealtimes

What are you eating?  Apparently that depends on when you are eating.

At mealtime, Craig and I often discuss if we are eating lunch, dinner, supper, and so on. Do you know the difference?

Wikipedia says that “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. 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. Eventually, the term shifted to referring to the heavy main meal of the day, even if it had been preceded by a breakfast meal. 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.”

Wikipedia’s definition of supper is a little less confusing. “Supper is the name for the evening meal in some dialects of English – ordinarily the last meal of the day. Originally, in the middle ages, it referred to the lighter meal following dinner. ”

If she wakes up when her lunch arrives, is it breakfast? or dinner?

So, essentially, at least for our family, our evening meal is our dinner, and we don’t usually eat supper, although I  occasionally “sup” on a bowl of cereal and milk after the kids go to bed.  I guess Taco Bell should be marketing their “4th Meal” as supper, really.

Lunch is simply a midday meal (which also could be called dinner, and if you eat a REALLY big breakfast, lunch might be your supper.)

Breakfast is the first meal of the day, as you are breaking the fast.  But, don’t forget, if it’s the biggest meal you eat that day, it’s dinner!

Word Origins

Dinner – 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”).

Supper – from the French souper, which is still used for this meal in Canadian French, Swiss French and sometimes in Belgian French. It is related to soup. It is also related to the German word for soup, Suppe.

Lunch – The abbreviation lunch, in use from 1823, is taken from the more formal “Lunchentach,” from 1580, as a word for a meal that was inserted between more substantial meals. In medieval Germany, there are references to nuncheontach, a non lunchentach, a noon draught— of ale, with bread— an extra meal between midday dinner and supper, especially during the long hours of hard labour during haying or early harvesting.

Breakfast – I could not find and origin for breakfast, other than the basic explanation of breaking the fast that I mentioned above.

What will you call your next meal?

Whatever it is, I hope it is healthy and that you enjoy it.

Filed under: Homemaking, Mommyhood, There's a Word for That · Tags: , , , ,

4 Responses to "There’s a Word for That: Mealtimes"

  1. Hilary says:

    If you we asking Zachary he would say that every meal is LUNCH. He wakes up and wants lunch. Then midday he wants lunch. In the evening he wants lunch. For snacks he wants lunch. Basically to Zach if he wants to eat it is considered lunch. As for me…I say breakfast, lunch, and then dinner.

    Can’t wait to see what are in the works for next wednesday. Here are a couple suggestions….what do people call the remote control? What do people call a drinking fountain?

  2. kim says:

    Dinner here all the way. Supper was always a “fancy” word. Like “sofa”.

  3. Danielle says:

    I’m going to say breakfast, lunch, and dinner…but if I were really being honest I would invent a word that means snacking heavily all day long!

  4. I am from the South – my grandma called lunch Dinner and then Dinner Supper LOL I catch myself calling it both :)

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