a. The chief meal of the day, eaten in the evening or at midday.
b. A banquet or formal meal in honor of a person or event.
c. The food prepared for either of these meals.
- A full-course meal served at a fixed price; table d'hôte.
Origin of dinner
Middle English diner morning meal from
Old French disner, diner to dine, morning meal
; see dine
. Word History:
In Middle English dinner
meant “breakfast,” as did the Old French word disner,
which was the source of our word. The Old French word came from the Vulgar Latin word *disiūnāre,
meaning “to break one's fast; that is, to eat one's first meal,” a notion also contained in our word breakfast.
The Vulgar Latin word was derived from an earlier word, *disiēiūnāre,
the Latin elements of which are dis-,
denoting reversal, and iēiūnium,
“fast.” Middle English diner
not only meant “breakfast” but, echoing usage of the Old French word diner,
more commonly meant “the first big meal of the day, usually eaten between 9 AM and noon.” Customs change, however, and over the years we have let the chief meal become the last meal of the day, by which time we have broken our fast more than once.
(countable and uncountable, plural dinners)
- A midday meal (in a context in which the evening meal is called supper or tea).
- The main meal of the day, often eaten in the evening.
- An evening meal.
- A meal given to an animal.
- Give the dog its dinner.
- A formal meal for many people eaten for a special occasion.
- (uncountable) The food provided or consumed at any such meal.
- There are differences in usage according to the social class of the speaker. Working-class and lower-middle-class speakers in Britain, for example, are more likely to refer to the midday meal as "dinner" and the evening meal as "tea" rather than "supper". Some speakers use common collocations of dinner such as school dinner, Sunday dinner and Christmas dinner to describe meals that they wouldn't otherwise call a dinner.
From Old French disner (“lunch”, but originally “breakfast”), from Latin dis- + iēiūnō (“to break the fast”).