ZZ asked in Society & CultureEtiquette · 1 decade ago

what does "Lunch", "Dinner" and "Tea", "Supper" to british?

it seems that they could eat dinner at lunch time, tea at dinner time etc.

i always thought lunch is around noon time, dinner is during evening, tea is in between lunch & dinner, and supper is before sleeping?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It depends largely on class:

    Working class people tend to eat "dinner" as the midday meal, and then have "tea" as their evening meal at about 6 o'clock.

    Middle-class people tend to eat "lunch" as their midday meal, but eat a later evening meal, which they call "dinner", maybe at eight o'clock.

    Because of this later mealtime it used to be traditional to have a light meal in the late afternoon, which was then called "tea" (or "high tea"). This tradition has largely died out.

    Supper is usually a light snack later in the evening or before bedtime. Although in northern England, the main evening meal is often, confusingly, called supper.

    As with many things in British society, the name you give your midday meal can instantly identify your social origin.

  • yanity
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Lunch Dinner Tea

  • 1 decade ago

    Unkulunk is correct.

    All this confusion came about because: -

    "Dinner" basically means the main meal of the day. Back in the 17th century everyone ate it at midday, and had supper (just a light meal - originally a bowl of soup, which is what the word means) in the evening.

    But in the 18th and 19th centuries it became fashionable for rich upper-class people to eat their dinner later and later, till it ended up somewhere between 7 and 8 p.m. Logically, for this class of people "supper" more or less disappeared, unless for some reason they had had no dinner or had dined unusually early, e.g. to go to the theatre, in which case they might have a supper afterwards. And it meant that a new meal had to be invented around midday, and this came to be called "luncheon" or "lunch". (Before that, the word "luncheon" had meant a quick snack - in his 1755 Dictionary, Samuel Johnson defined the word as "as much food as can be held in the hand".) "Afternoon tea", including not only tea to drink but cakes and small sandwiches, was optional.

    But right through this, unfashionable non-upper-class people went on eating their main meal at midday and calling it "dinner". So the question of what you call your midday meal is a very class-nuanced thing.

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm British and to me lunch has always been at midday, dinner in the evening, sometimes we call dinner tea. Supper to e is a night thing before sleeping but some people call dinner super as well. I suppose you could have posh afternoon tea which isn't really a meal just a kind of afternoon snack.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It depends on where you come from in the UK, and what class you're from.

    For some people tea is the same as dinner.

    Lunch = 12-2pm

    Tea = 4 pm

    OR Dinner = tea = supper

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


    i live in Australia and we use the same words.

    Lunch, means that its about 1 pm. When you eat 'Lunch'

    Dinner, means its about 6-8 pm when you have your 'Dinner' also described as 'Tea'

    I am not british so im not sure what supper means. Sorry! =)

  • Robin
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    For me it is breakfast, lunch and dinner. I suppose you call it supper if it is later in the evening that you eat your meal. Tea, is in the afternoon. A pot of tea with sandwiches and cake. Some people (in Liverpool where I'm from) say breakfast, dinner and tea. I think it's just slang though. I correct my children. Serviette is another one. My mum always said it but apparently it is napkin. No one of class uses the word serviette. All boloney if you ask me!

  • pete j
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Supper is a small dinner when you've had a big lunch.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Good question

    Here in Oz I've heard the midday meal referred to as "lunch" or "dinner".

    And the evening meal referred to as "dinner" or "tea".

    Supper is rarely mentioned.

    The mid morning snack is "morning tea", and mid afternoon snack is "afternoon tea".

    In my house it's breakfast, lunch and dinner. K.I.S.S!

  • 1 decade ago

    i think you have it about right. that is always what i thought too.

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