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I don't get it...what's the difference between tea, supper and dinner?

(60 Posts)
sidesplittinglol Sun 02-Jul-17 17:58:03

Just that really.

Do people have all three or just two or?

BertrandRussell Sun 02-Jul-17 18:02:13

Well, for me, tea is at 4.00, dinner is at 7.30 and supper is at 10.30. And no, you don't always -or even usually- have all of them.

But I am old, posh and old fashioned.

BoneStripped Sun 02-Jul-17 18:04:33

Tea: an early evening meal, served around 5 or 6 pm, often for the children, whilst the parents have dinner later.

Dinner: the main evening meal for teens and adults (but not if said adults have eaten tea with their DC earlier).

Supper: a late evening snack, maybe a bowl of soup, or something on toast - sometimes eaten as well as dinner or tea, but several hours later. Oprional, may be served after an evening out.

Those are my definitions, anyway, other people's will vary.

Finola1step Sun 02-Jul-17 18:07:01

I would say tea at 4pm, dinner at 7pm and supper at 10pm. Give or take 15mins either side. Tea and supper are lighter meals and all 3 in one day would be far too much. Unless it is Christmas Day.

If I have tea then I will probably have a supper. But not tea and dinner

Smeaton Sun 02-Jul-17 18:09:57

This gets discussed a lot... And everyone is always wrong.. grin

Dinner... 1pm if cooked. (Lunch if cold);
Tea... Main evening meal
Supper... Late evening snack

CauliflowerSqueeze Sun 02-Jul-17 18:10:23

It's a regional thing and (traditionally) also a class thing.

Tea - meal at 5/6pm for working class (when factory workers got home absolutely ravenous)
Tea - biscuits and tea for upper class at about 4pm

Dinner - midday meal for working class
Dinner - evening meal for middle and upper class about 8pm
Lunch - midday meal for middle/ upper class

Supper - late sandwich and drink about 9pm
Supper - lighter evening meal for middle and upper class about 7pm.

Most people don't have tea at 4pm.
Most people have either dinner aroond midday and then tea at 6pm.
Or lunch at around midday and dinner about 7pm.

But these days it's all mixed around and people get very tense at the suggestion of class being involved at all.

Polter Sun 02-Jul-17 18:13:18

Dinner for me just means main meal, which could be for lunch (12-2ish) or tea (5-8ish) and supper is a late evening snack (9-10ish).

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Sun 02-Jul-17 18:13:30

Depends on where you are from. I haven't had "tea" since school but then it was a cups of tea and cake/bread served mid afternoon. Dinner and supper are both evening meals to me, but supper would be casual and dinner would be more formal. However I use both pretty much interchangeably.

Polter Sun 02-Jul-17 18:14:08

Afternoon tea or high tea would be late afternoon and consist of a pot of tea, sandwiches and cake.

AlfaMummy Sun 02-Jul-17 18:15:24

Tea: the drink with sandwiches served at 4pm.
Supper: informal evening meal at home , served at 7 ish.
Dinner: formal evening meal served at 8:30 to 9 pm.

BrieOnAnOatcake Sun 02-Jul-17 18:16:54

In my head Supper is the evening meal , we have it 6ish due to kids. Dinner is something more formal , I'd go out to dinner.

However I'm aware to some supper is a pre bed snack not dinner!

Tea I'm familiar with as a slice of bread and cake and pot of tea with grandparents at 4ish. But am used to schoolkids inviting mine "to tea" meaning a meal!

PinkHeart5911 Sun 02-Jul-17 18:18:10

Tea, is a drink

Dinner is my evening meal

Supper means nothing to me and I'd never say it. I don't know anyone that says supper

NataliaOsipova Sun 02-Jul-17 18:18:25

If you invited me for tea, I would expect tea, cakes and sandwiches at about 4pm. If you asked my DC on a play date and offered tea, I'd assume you meant to feed them a kids style meal at about 5pm.

For me, dinner is a formal evening meal at about 8pm; supper is something lighter/more basic that we might eat just the two of us/eat in the kitchen. Also about 8pm.

But that could well just be me!

BrieOnAnOatcake Sun 02-Jul-17 18:19:48

Cauliflower I don't think you can say "most people have dinner at lunchtime and tea in the evening." It really does vary. I don't know anyone who would call a midday meal dinner (apart from Sunday which has it's own rules about cooked dinner at lunchtime.)

Even now living in a lower income area lunch is at lunch time . Dinner would be a hot meal so dinner/tea interchangeable in the evening.

llangennith Sun 02-Jul-17 18:21:01

Depends where you livegrin

Hassled Sun 02-Jul-17 18:22:30

My main evening meal is always supper (I am quite posh and quite old). Dinner is something you go out for. Lunch is what I eat at lunchtime. Tea is either a drink, or sandwiches and cakes at 4ish - but I don't think I've ever actually eaten that (I'm not that posh).

ItMustBeTuesday Sun 02-Jul-17 18:23:09

Well I'd have all 3

Dinner - meal at 12pm (lunch)

Tea - your evening meal eaten somewhere between 5pm and 9pm

Supper - cereal or toast before bed.

Iamastonished Sun 02-Jul-17 18:23:55

We just have lunch and tea. IMO supper is something you eat very late in the evening. We aren't posh enough for dinner.

BlahBlahBlahEtc Sun 02-Jul-17 18:23:59

Now I'm really confused!

Evening meal was always "Dinner" when I lived in London.

Evening meal is "Tea" now I live in yorkshire.

Afternoon meal is "Lunch" in London

Afternoon meal is "Dinner" in Yorkshire!

I literally had zero idea about this early evening / mid evening / late evening stuff confused

NuffSaidSam Sun 02-Jul-17 18:26:44

Regional and class based as pp said.

They can all mean main evening meal.

I had tea when I lived in Yorkshire, dinner when in working class east London and now supper in middle class west London. All just 'evening meal'.

But of course tea can also mean a light meal with sandwiches and scones served at 4pm. Dinner can mean a posh meal out (London) or lunch (Yorkshire). Supper can be a pre-bed snack (London, old school working class and also very posh).

picklemepopcorn Sun 02-Jul-17 18:28:14

Depends where you live. When I grew up, tea was the evening meal, hot or cold, eaten in the kitchen. Dinner was a dining room meal, always hot, often a roast, involving serving dishes etc. Lunch was midday, hot or cold. Probably not particularly heavy.

So a roast is always dinner regardless of what time it is served. Beans on toast is never dinner- it's tea or lunch.

Supper is a snack eaten toward the end of the evening- cheese and biscuits, etc.

PerfumeIsAMessage Sun 02-Jul-17 18:31:19

As Stuart Maconie said, supper is dinner if you're posh, and cheese on toast in your pyjamas watching Opportunity Knocks if you're not.

I am northern and not posh so dinner is lunch, tea is sometimes dinner and sometimes tea, and supper is only occasionally and involves cheese. grin

HappyAxolotl Sun 02-Jul-17 18:31:54

Both tea and dinner can be the evening meal. Though a lighter/easier/everyday type meal is called tea and dinner implies a bigger/more complicated/more effort one.

Supper is a slice of toast or something before bed.

Afternoon tea is scones and cakes and all that.

A birthday tea is a finger buffet with birthday cake at the end.

Children have school dinner at lunchtime and invite their mate round for tea in the evening.

eddiemairswife Sun 02-Jul-17 18:33:35

As a London child.....lunch, something you took to school to eat at morning break......dinner, the cooked meal you had at school after morning lessons......tea, the meal you had at home after school.....supper, a small snack and drink at bedtime.

InfiniteSheldon Sun 02-Jul-17 18:35:00

The M25

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