Difference between Dinner, Lunch and Supper

Key difference: Dinner, Lunch and Supper are different types of meals taken at different time intervals. A ‘dinner’ is a main meal which is taken either at midday or in the evening; a ‘lunch’ is a meal eaten at the middle of the day; while a ‘supper’ is taken at the evening, as a light or informal meal.

Meals and their types may occur anywhere; among which the regular meals occur on a daily basis, typically several times a day. While, that of a special meals are held only on special occasions and ceremonies according to the timing and type of meals. These meal types vary by custom and location and hence are served and eaten according to their respective times.

Often, names of these meals are used interchangeably; as some considers dinners as their main meal; while supers are offered as late afternoon or early evening meals. While others, consider their midday lunch as their main meal. So, these meals and types keep on changing according to different customs.

Dinner is considered to be the main meal of the day, generally taken during the noon or evening time. However, the term ‘dinner’ may have several meanings which keep changing according to the cultures. During the historical days, the term was used to refer the first meal of the day, which was eaten during the noon time. However today, its meaning is considered for referring the evening meals, which is generally the largest meal of the day. Thus, today it is only the considered type of meaning which is becoming standard in the English-speaking world.

Lunch is a meal often taken during the afternoon times, which comprises of all salads and afternoon food stuffs. The word ‘lunch’ originates from ‘luncheon’, which means a small type of meal which can be eaten at any time of day or night. The lunch meal is the second heaviest meal eaten after breakfast. There are several varieties of lunch and their types available at the known restaurants in the world today.

Supper is an evening meal; often used interchangeably with dinner. Traditionally, suppers were separate type of meals. Actually, the term ‘supper’ is derived from French souper. The meal largely refers to a light type of meal, which can be a late-evening snack or soup sort of. The term is broadly taken in an informal way. Supper is often taken only at home places; they are never opted as choices when on an outdoor trips.

Hence, the clear distinction between dinner, lunch and supper can be classified due to their types and meal timings. Dinner comprises of heavy meals, which almost consists of everything which are essential for daily meals. While, lunches are more often nutritious, this consists of some protein-rich and slightly lighter food stuffs as compared to dinner. Supper is considered are informal meals which are light to eat and generally preferred during the night meals, which can be replaced on behalf of dinners. These meals and their types changes according to places and their preferences. Some countries regularly follow lunch and dinner routines; while some follow a strict lunch and supper routines and hence accordingly manage their food diets and manners.  

Comparison between Dinner, Lunch and Supper:





According to Dictionary.com

  • the main meal of the day, eaten in the evening or at midday
  • a formal meal in honor of some person or occasion
  • a light midday meal between breakfast and dinner; luncheon
  • any light meal or snack
  • the evening meal, often the principal meal of the day
  • any light evening meal, especially one taken late in the evening

What types of meals they are?

heavy meal of the day or the main meal of the day

the meal after breakfast, or a slightly lighter meal as compared to dinner

the lightest of all meals often taken in replacement to dinner with soups and breads

Routine types

Formal routines

Formal routines

Informal routines


either in the evening or at midday

at noon or afternoon


Offered and found at

restaurants, hotels, parties homes etc.

restaurants, hotels, parties homes etc.

usually homes

Image Courtesy: goodtoknow.co.uk, goodfoodrevolution.com, myrecipes.com

Most Searched in Education and References Most Searched in Environment
Most Searched in Entertainment and Music Most Searched in Home and Garden
Sony Xperia ZR vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Shall vs May
PuTTY vs Telnet

Add new comment

Plain text

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.