Talk:Dinner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Food and drink (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Food and drink, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of food and drink related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
Checklist icon
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
 

rural mid-western dinner terms[edit]

the info about rural midwesterners referring to the noon repast as 'dinner' is just wrong, no manner when the meals are taken, although most in the states do understand 'dinner' and 'supper' to mean the same thing.

As a former midwesterner, agree utterly. No one refers to lunch as dinner, regardless of size. Possibly was reintroduced by qwertqwert below, but needs emending. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:41, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Limited Scope[edit]

{{limitedgeographicscope}}

Dinner[edit]

Okay, Derek, you've defined it; but can you serve it? I skipped lunch, and I'm absolutely famished... --Ed Poor

<heh>, <heh> First things, first, Ed, look after the inner man properly and you'll have more energy to create better articles. I made sure that I had my dinner before I rewrote the article. ;-) Sorry I can't give you anything more 'filling'. -- Derek Ross

Dinner main meal[edit]

I changed quote a lot of this article, which I found to be rather lacking in objectivity and logic, really. A dinner is the main meal of the day. And the roots for the word are plainly clear. That the main meal of the day has been eaten at different times through history, does not change this fact.

Furthermore, that different individuals today eat dinner in different times of the day, is not interesting in the upper parts of this article, where one should be concerned with clear definitions, maybe an intelligent explanation of the concept of eating large meals consisting of animal proteins and starch.

The article is now less limited to just the US and UK perspective.

Qwerty qwerty 00:21, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Dinner vs. supper[edit]

May I ask why you redefined what was already available under the less ambiguous term supper? -montréalais

Sorry but I don't think that it is unambiguous. I live in Britain and as far as I'm concerned supper is a light meal to be had before bedtime. Dinner is not supper. I'm afraid that I will be changing supper to reflect that information too. The main reason that I redefined it was that the article needed to describe the actual structure of the meal and the previous version didn't really do that. If you look at High Tea you'll find that I didn't need to do such a wholesale reconstruction as you provided good solid info there -- as you have done in supper for the most part.-- Derek Ross
Well, as you see fit. Please do the following, however:
  1. retain the information in supper (move it to dinner if you prefer);`
  2. note that the word "supper" refers to dinner in Canada and the US, and that "dinner" sometimes means "lunch";
  3. add links to dinner to breakfast, brunch, lunch, high tea, supper, and dessert.
Other than that, I leave it in your capable hands. - montréalais
To Montréalais: No problem, I'll do all that. Your description is obviously fine for North America, so I don't intend to remove it. It just doesn't describe a British (or at any rate a Scottish) supper. :-- Derek Ross
To save you some time and trouble, I have tried to disambiguate somewhat under dinner and supper between these, high tea, and lunch. Perhaps you will not need to move anything about. - montréalais
I am an anglophone Montrealer. Many here use "supper" interchangeably with dinner, perhaps in part because it coincides with the French "souper", but probably because of the British influence (like "chesterfield" for sofa). But although lunch in French is "dîner", I have never heard anyone in Montreal uses "dinner" to refer to lunch. To suggest otherwise is flat-out incorrect. I have no idea if dinner is used for lunch elsewhere in Canada. Rickwodz 19:00, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
For what it is worth, here is the opinion of an anonymous U.S. citizen. I grew up with dinner being the main meal of the day. If you had dinner in the evening, then you had lunch in the afternoon. If you had dinner in the afternoon, you had supper in the evening. PerlKnitter

Supper misleading[edit]

Hello there. I came to the Supper and Dinner articles just to resolve that very conundrum: which goes first, where? I'm in the US but inclined somewhat to British usages, so found the information in this article helpful, but was puzzled to notice that supper contains the phrase "ordinarily the last meal of the day, usually the meal that comes after dinner" without mentioning which regional usage this is and what the various different interpretations can be. For example, I caught a rumor that in the American South, "supper" and "dinner" are reversed from their UK meanings, and this sounds familiar but I don't have the information to verify it. I would have put this in talk:supper but noticed this page was more active. A. J. Luxton 10:31, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Supper and dinner aren't reversed in the South. They're synonyms. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:41, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

How many courses at dinner?[edit]

I sit down to dinner quite often in the United States and only have one course. Your description might be good for "formal dinner" or some such. --rmhermen

To rmhermen: I'd hesitate to call a one course dinner, dinner. It would seem more like a generic meal to me. However I'm no expert on US dinners. Each to his own. If I'm just describing British dinners, you should add a note to the article. - Derek Ross
Most of the time, ordinary North American dinners consist in just one course, plus dessert. - montréalais
Hmmm... Surely that makes two courses? Am I missing something?
Yes. That the dessert is fully optional, with an 'ordinary' dinner lacking it. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:41, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
You'd be wrong to hesitate, Derek. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:41, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
To add to the English side of this debate, there is something of a division in England. Some people (like me) use 'lunch' for the midday meal and 'dinner' or 'supper' synonymously for the evening meal, which is normally eaten fairly late, say 7.30 or 8.30. To stave of hunger between these meals, they may have 'tea' as a kind of organised snack around 4 or 5, normally involving tea the drink (we're English after all) and something along the lines of toast, crumpets, little cakes or biscuits (my mouth is watering at the thought). Others use 'dinner' to mean the midday meal, 'tea' to mean the evening meal which is normally eaten fairly early, say 6, and 'supper' to mean a snack before bedtime. I believe the broad trend is that in the South people fall into the former category and in the North of England (and I think Scotland and Northern Ireland) people tend to fall into the latter. I believe the change between one and the other is roughly in line with Cambridge (so not very far North at all). Also, (as noted in the Dinner page) the phrase 'school dinners' has entered the language (in England, I mean) to mean lunch served at school, and 'dinner ladies' are the people who serve it. -Owen Jones 00:14, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Then you get people like me, of Northern/Midlands parentage, but living in the south. To me, 'tea' and 'dinner' are synonymous, both meaning the evening meal of the day, and lunch is the midday meal. Supper is a snack before bedtime.

'High' Tea?[edit]

to add to this "supper is almost invariably called 'tea' (specifically, "high tea" - which does not indicate high formality but indicates that some kind of meat, fish, etc., is being served)." Never ever heard anyone call it "High Tea", is this something that happens in places other than yorkshire? I think is is something people think the English do.

As far as I know the expression is used all over England. It certainly is in Kent, where I was born and bred. If you Google "high tea" you might get some idea of the extent of its use. Nick Michael (talk) 06:29, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Limited geographic scope[edit]

The article mainly discusses the practices in North America and the U.K. I think it would be great if it touched on other cultures as well. I've added the template "Limited geographic scope" and listed the article on the Countering Systemic Bias project list. / Alarm 08:44, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The article takes a point of view[edit]

From the first paragraph:

Because of this, the term 'dinner' is often ambiguous, and should be avoided (says who?), especially since specific terms already exist for the 3 main meals of the day: breakfast, lunch and supper.

This is obviously expressing a point of view or two, not simply reporting on them. It should be fixed by the regular editors of the article. Gentgeen 06:19, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Diner habbits[edit]

Something should be said about dining habbits, for instance dining all together (like around a table) or everyone for itself. I think there are many cultural differences in this, I also read somewhere that dining together is something that comes from religions (perhaps praying together..?) but I'm not sure wheter that's true. Perhaps there's more habbit-differences. --85.75.7.78 18:09, 2 August 2006 (UTC)


Well as an average Indian I did like to say that a dinner for us is formal occasion where in multiple courses are served, be it a mid day or evening before bed.But Indians too have different versions, like north Indians like to say a dinner is the largest meal of the day which quite often the Lunch(midday meal).However it is never used for breakfast.

Contemporary use[edit]

I don't think this article reflects the contemporary use of the word "dinner". Although I acknowledge it is relevant to take the history of the term into account, I believe that emphasis should be placed on its current usage. Do you really have dinner other than in the evening?

In Britain at least, yes. In schools, the break at midday is often referred to as "dinner time" or "the dinner hour" (aswell as "lunch time" and such), the meals served is generally called "school dinners", and the canteen workers are called "dinner ladies". UK usage (at least in my area) tends to have any largish, hot meal (such as one with more than one course, like the main course + pudding) qualify to be called a dinner. 172.213.224.82 10:30, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
However, claiming this usage obtains on the other side of the Pond continues to seem specious/historic. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:44, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Much of rural northern AB and SK farming communities use "dinner" and "lunch" as synonyms for the the noon mean. "Dinner time" mean noon exclusively. The evening meal is Supper. This use is still the norm for those areas this side of the pond. --206.214.244.178 (talk) 21:58, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad to hear that the usage is still fairly common on both sides of the pond. I think we need to resist the "language police" (apologies to LlywelynII at whom this comment was not directly aimed, and against whom I make no such accusation) who insist that only their usage is valid, but at the same time reflect the fact that usage has changed in most regions. To answer the OP: yes, I shall be eating dinner around mid-day today, as usual. Dbfirs 09:19, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

The bit about Spain[edit]

The article says that in Spain lunch is usually taken late and so dinner is around 9 - 10 PM. In fact, the confusion comes from the confusing use of termns throughout Spain. The word "almuerzo" means lunch, but in some parts of Spain, like Andalusia or Castile, where usually there are 3 or 4 meals, it is used to denote the main meal of the day (called usually "comida" throughout the country), while in regions like Catalonia or Valencia, who usually have 4 or 5 meals, "almuerzo" is a light meal taken in mid-morning. Tellingly, in Catalan the strong noon meal is called "dinar", and the late night meal is called "sopar". So more than saying that we take lunch late, it's more likely the contrary - we take dinner early! ;)62.15.151.242 09:59, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Dinner time 8-10pm?[edit]

I'm not an expert, but everyone I have ever known in the northeastern US generally eats dinner between 5 and 7pm. This article says 8-10pm, which seems very late to me... Am I living under a rock? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 74.70.198.120 (talk) 05:13, 8 January 2007 (UTC).

I think the ambiguity in the usage of the term "dinner" to refer to different meals throughout the day precludes us from properly adding information about the usage in other countries. Since we cannot accurately define what is meant by "dinner" in general, the translation to a word in other language would be inaccurate, thus giving way to confusion about the meaning.
In other words, if "dinner" can be used to refer to "lunch" or "supper", then which meal should we refer to in international usage?
The definition of dinner should be limited to English speaking countries. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lothos255 (talkcontribs) 23:51, 28 March 2007
I disagree. The English Wikipedia is read worldwide and we need to fight systemic bias in our articles. There's no reason this article can't be more global, though I agree that we need to sharpen its focus as I outline below. —Elipongo (Talk|contribs) 06:15, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Lothos. The word "dinner" has so many possible meanings, it's not practical to equate it into another word in a different language. We can either break dinner down into different sections based on its different usage, or we can simply defer the discussion of non-English usage in the "lunch" and "supper" articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.218.74.115 (talk) 22:19, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Tentatively agree. There should be links here to other culture's dining customs, which may or may not best be dealt with by simply including the information on this page. As the Spanish contributor above notes, though, editors shouldn't just add things like in Spain people eat dinner XYZ but should actually be sure to reference the Spanish terminology. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:52, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Technically, dinner doesn't mean "lunch" or "supper," but "largest meal whether lunch or supper" with the optional usages "synonym for supper in America," "synonym for evening snack in various Commonwealth areas." The 'largest meal' bit would be the international usage. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:52, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
In any case, yes, 8-10 is late for an American dinner, albeit common in European suppers. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:52, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

The focus of this page[edit]

This page wanders around sounding like a Wiktionary article for most of its length in the discussion of whether dinner is more like lunch or supper. I should point out that this ambiguity is addressed in both the lunch and supper articles. I think that while this article should devote a sentence or two to the ambiguity of the definition, the main focus should be on the connotation of the word that is not shared- that is of a formal meal akin to a banquet. —Elipongo (Talk|contribs) 06:11, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

I added a few intermediate headlines to better structure the page. The focus is still unclear, though. --Aleph-4 (talk) 16:25, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Er, no. Discussion about dinner's ambiguity should be dealt with at length here and only briefly elsewhere. The tertiary or archaic usage as a synonym for 'banquet' should be dealt with briefly, if at all. There's always a link to wiktionary, after all. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:55, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

does this really need a citation?[edit]

"In Australia and most parts of the United States and Canada, dinner is the evening repast served around 5:30 to 8:30 p.m[citation needed]."

I mean, it's kind of common knowledge, isn't it? I don't think anyone will be able to find a source that clearly states the guidelines for dinner times in these areas.

[And whether or not it's relevant, in Alberta I've heard people refer to both supper and lunch as "dinner", but there doesn't seem to be one with noticeably higher usage than the other and there isn't really a locality pattern to it.]

I think something like Emily Post might have it. As for why have sources at all for such 'common knowledge', consider the current inclusion of the idea it's 'common' to refer to 'breakfast, dinner, supper' in the Midwest. -LlywelynII (talk) 17:57, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
written by John Nature Nature Biney  — Preceding unsigned comment added by 41.218.228.202 (talk) 20:30, 13 July 2013 (UTC) 

British Class Distinctions[edit]

I grew up about a hundred miles from London and as part of a working class family we ate breakfast, then dinner(at mid-day during the school term) and finaly tea at about six in the evening. As a teen I lived in a childrens home that was ran by a nice, higher classed couple who insisted that we did things "properly" and there we ate breakfast which usualy included cereal, toast and something cooked at 7am. Dinner ( the main meal, always with dessert) at 12:30. Tea included sandwiches biscuits (cookies) or cake and of course a pot of tea. The last meal of the day was supper sometimes between 8pm and 10pm depending if we were out and if there was school/work the next morning.

It's quite funny that this issue has often been the subject of light hearted debate as I married an American from Missouri who was raised to eat dinner in the evening and lunch at mid-day. LOL. If it's not his way it must be wrong. scribbles117.20.125.249 (talk) 05:21, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Had you grown up in an upper or upper-middle family you would have had breakfast (the great leveller, note - all classes call it by the same name!), lunch between 12 and one, tea and biscuits (or cake etc.) at around five, and dinner in the evening as the last meal of the day. That's if you were an adult: children may well have skipped the dinner (too late for them) and had 'high tea' (a light, cooked meal) instead, before bedtime.Your husband is (naturally) right...;-) Nick Michael (talk) 06:34, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
So upper-class British usage equated to American usage and (subsequently?) fell out of favor owing to reverse snobbery? Sounds like it should be mentioned prominently, if supported. -LlywelynII (talk) 18:01, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Contradiction re: Arab 'dinner'[edit]

The opening states "Dinner is the main meal of the day, eaten at noon or in the evening." While the Arab culture portion states "In the Arab world, dinner is the third meal of the day and is consumed quite late in the evening, especially during the hot summer months usually between 9:00 p.m. and midnight. It is usually a light meal, lunch being the main meal of the day."

The Arab "dinner" is not dinner by definition of the opening as it is not the main meal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.1.163.75 (talk) 09:46, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

I must say that whatever the English word 'dinner' evokes in Arab ears, the interpretation will be misleading, and I am for deleting any reference to non-English, or at least non-European interpretations in this article. Nick Michael (talk) 14:34, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
As above, you're right that foreign terms shouldn't simply be equated to 'dinner' but (rather than blanking information) a better way to handle the situation would be to move the information to another page and link to it from here or to reference the Arabic term under discussion (Although in this case, better to reference this from the 'supper' page and put the Arabic 'big lunch' here.) -LlywelynII (talk) 18:07, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
American 'dinner', but more appropriately removed to 'supper', it's true. -LlywelynII (talk) 18:07, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Chinese dinner??[edit]

The discussion above goes for the sub article on Chinese culture too of course. It is nonsensical to include such things here. What does "dinner" mean for a Chinese? The "main meal of the day" for a Chinese may be called many things, but one of them is certainly not "dinner". What could be put here is something like: The main meal of the day in Chinese culture is called [insert name in Chinese], and it is usually eaten at midday/in the evening. But even this doesn't improve the article, and I'm for removing all references to non-European culture, or rather to cultures that don't use the word, or a cognate of the word Dinner. I'll give it five days or more and then delete them unless a discussion starts. Nick Michael (talk) 05:25, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

The first idea or a link to a discussion of Chinese dining habits is better than blanking information. 'The main meal of the day in Chinese culture' is precisely a Chinese 'dinner', albeit that 'Chinese culture' is probably broad enough that there are similar issues to the US & upper-class-UK v. lower-class-UK divide here: ie, rural Chinese probably tend to have a larger lunch than urban ones. -LlywelynII (talk) 18:08, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

The main meal of the day?[edit]

This is highly culture-centric. There are numerous countries in the world in which the main/most important meal is the second (around noon) meal of the day.

I'm specifying that in the main article. --189.160.164.54 (talk) 04:54, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't see the problem. The article starts: Dinner is the main meal of the day, eaten at midday or in the evening. This concords exactly with what you say above. Nick Michael (talk) 13:44, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
As NM points out above, the idea of 'dinner' is bit anglocentric, given that it has peculiarities to its use. But you're right that numerous cultures have a 'main meal' that could appropriately be discussed on or linked to from this page. People should simply take the time to note that actual term and its peculiarities (if any) rather than saying things like The Lapplanders eat dinner at 4:27 PM. -LlywelynII (talk) 18:14, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes. In American English, "lunch" was a small meal, almost a snack, and a lunch-counter could serve it at any time in the day, in the 19th century. So "lunch" is associated with the size, not the timing. That is how we got a "lunch" as a mid-day meal in American English, so long as it wasn't the MAIN meal (which in that case, is invariably called dinner). SBHarris 18:47, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

"Repast" vs. "Meal"[edit]

Why does this article use the term "repast" rather than the much more common term "meal"? Looking up repast only leads to a disambiguation page leading to meal anyway, so other than unnecessary eccentricity, why the distinction? -- Suzumebachi (talk) 17:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Addendum: Since I'm apparently now allowed to edit this article, I've gone ahead and changed most instances of "repast" to "meal" in order to keep the article more consistent. It is after all part of the series on meals, not the series on repasts. -- Suzumebachi (talk) 17:29, 22 May 2008 (UTC)


"More Pictures"[edit]

Can we have more pictures of Dinner? I can take some and give it to wikipedia for free. Please we need more pictures! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.119.16.117 (talk) 04:15, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

This article needs thorough revision...[edit]

It is crammed with non-NPOV expressions and other nonsense. Examples:

In general, people in rural parts of America, Canada, and other Anglophone countries eat breakfast, dinner and supper. In these cases, dinner typically happens between midday and early afternoon.

As many of us know, this is just not true. You cannot just group "Anglophone countries" with the Americas.

...midday dinner is an important feature because it divides the day's labor in half and provides well-earned refreshment

Expressions like "well-earned" are not appropriate in an encyclopedia.

People who live in cities and towns, and especially those who work in "white collar" positions, typically eat dinner in the evening. Their midday meal is called lunch (or luncheon) and is often a small and quick meal...

Again, just not true. Millions of people living in cities call the midday meal dinner. Millions of people living in "rural parts" call the midday meal "lunch".

Historically, very long ago, human beings probably spent their mornings preparing the one main meal of the day. The lion's share of it might have been eaten at midday, followed by a nap. Leftovers might be consumed as supper later that evening, and/or as breakfast the following morning. In many European countries, breakfast still consists of the prior day's leftovers, with the freshly-prepared English, Scottish and Irish full breakfasts standing apart as exceptions to prove the rule.

I won't even bother to comment on the first two sentences. As for breakfast consisting of yesterday's leftovers, well I'm sorry for whichever poor editor wrote that. If they're that badly off, they wouldn't have leftovers. All complete rubbish.

I'm not that motivated but may try rewriting the entire article one of these days. Any objections should be raised here. Nick Michael (talk) 06:49, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Forge ahead! Bienfuxia (talk) 19:17, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Nah, I'm working on Thomas Tomkins now: far more rewarding! Nick Michael (talk) 21:54, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Contradictory definition in opening paragraph[edit]

"Dinner is the name of the main meal of the day. Depending upon culture, it may be the second or third meal of the day[1], and may not even be a main meal. "

Isn't that contradictory? Dinner is the main meal, but it's not a main meal?

Having read through this talk page, I can see that the very definition of "dinner" is highly contested, and I don't really want to join the fray... I just think that an encyclopedic introductory paragraph shouldn't have such a glaring contradiction in it.Soojmagooj (talk) 03:45, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Absolutely agreed. I have adjusted the opening paragraph to avoid this contradiction. Nick Michael (talk) 21:20, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

First meal of the day?![edit]

The article currently says "originally, it referred to the first meal of the day, eaten about noon". Not only is this unsourced, but I can't imagine dinner ever being the *first* meal of the day, even if eaten in the middle of the day! What about breakfast?! I find this very hard to believe.Gymnophoria (talk) 18:39, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Etymologically, the word derives from the popular Latin "disjunare" meaning "to break one's fast". See the Etymology section of the article. Nick Michael (talk) 20:57, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Yep. Read Wikpedia and learn something! SBHarris 02:07, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

References[edit]

I saw something about the popularity of the word due to the CDI lines from the king in zelda games. Would they be worth putting here?184.98.143.25 (talk) 07:51, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Dinner has two overlapping meanings[edit]

The sentence "In Spain, the main meal of the day is actually lunch (~1:30 PM), and their dinners (~9:30 PM) aren't as big." is perfect, normal, standard American English (at least). Meanwhile, it is not unusual to hear people say "Will you come over for Sunday dinner at 12:30 this afternoon?", and I wouldn't dare say that's an error. So the lead should make that clear. Red Slash 00:13, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

I think you have imposed your own opinion on the lead and made it more biased towards modern American usage. May I change it back to the previous world-wide phrasing which more closely reflects the usage where I live? Dbfirs 07:40, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
"May you"--of course you may, I don't own this, but I think the dominant (though not exclusive!) meaning these days is for the evening meal regardless of its size. For instance, if I asked you (on the street in person) what time Spaniards eat dinner, what would you say--1:30 or 9:30? I cannot imagine anyone saying that the Spanish eat dinner at 1:30 PM--is this ignorance on my part? Red Slash 23:10, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
I have no knowledge of Spanish usage, but I think that the previous lead more closely reflected usage in English world-wide. I would consider it perfectly normal to say that Spaniards eat dinner at 1:30 p.m. (though I've no idea whether they actually do). That's a bit later than the time at which I eat my dinner. Dbfirs 07:09, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Interesting. You and I are using two fundamentally different meanings for this word! I would say that the Spanish eat lunch at 1:30, whereas the smaller of their two main meals, dinner, is typically around 9:30-10:00. That is, the defining characteristic of what dinner is to me is that it is invariably a meal eaten in the late afternoon, evening or night, unless context demands the old-fashioned (to me) meaning. I wonder whether or not sources have something to say?
The two traditional dictionaries I found agree with you, but everything else I've found so far seem to strongly suggest that the interpretation I'm using is the dominant one nowadays. [1] [2] [3] [4] (scroll down to "La Cena") [5] [6]... As we all know, dictionaries trail current usage--I daresay Merriam-Webster is wrong. [7] Red Slash 00:24, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
To me, your links seem to emphasise that the word varies in meaning with region. About.com, donquijote.org and livestrong.com are obviously written for an American audience that has dinner in the evening. If I were explaining, I'd say that "la cena" is supper, and that Spaniards eat a late dinner in the early afternoon, with tea (la merienda) in between. I understand that, in Catalonia, they eat their dinner (main meal, "dinar") around noon. This is a pattern that closely matches the tradition where I live. We often use the term "evening meal" for what you would call "dinner", and we know people who eat according to this pattern. It is becoming more common in the UK. The big Oxford English Dictionary says "The chief meal of the day, eaten originally, and still by the majority of people, about the middle of the day (cf. German Mittagsessen), but now, by the professional and fashionable classes, usually in the evening; particularly, a formally arranged meal of various courses; a repast given publicly in honour of some one, or to celebrate some event.", but that entry has not been updated to reflect modern usage by the "fashionable classes" (to which, I am told, I don't belong!) For an up-to-date set of definitions, see the Wiktionary entry. I've made a small modification to take into account your two meanings (with which I agree), but expanded to three senses. Dbfirs 07:36, 12 April 2013 (UTC)