din·​ner ˈdi-nər How to pronounce dinner (audio)
often attributive
: the principal meal of the day
having dinner at five o'clock
: a formal feast or banquet
held a dinner in her honor
: the food prepared for a dinner
eat your dinner
: a packaged meal usually for quick preparation
warmed up a frozen dinner
dinnerless adjective

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between dinner and supper?

In modern use dinner and supper both usually refer to the main meal of the day eaten in the evening, with dinner being the slightly more formal word. Formerly, dinner typically referred to a main meal eaten in the middle of the day, while supper referred to a light meal eaten in the evening. That meaning of supper is still current in British English and among some speakers of American English.

What time is dinner?

The word dinner typically now refers to the main meal of the day eaten in the evening. In the phrase "Sunday dinner," dinner often refers to a main meal eaten earlier in the day on Sunday.

Why is it called dinner?

The word dinner comes from the Anglo-French (that is, the French spoken in medieval England) word disner, meaning "to dine." It has been in use since the 13th century.

Examples of dinner in a Sentence

We had many pleasant dinners together. We're planning to ask them to dinner soon. Two hundred people attended his retirement dinner.
Recent Examples on the Web Charlotte serves breakfast weekdays, brunch on Saturday and Sunday, lunch weekdays and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Leslie Kelly, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2024 The dancer chronicled the day in a fun Instagram video that showed Hough, 38, choosing between two cards turned the opposite way around to determine their holiday outfits, dinner, activities, and more. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 Our Easter dinner menus and recipes are here to help. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Feb. 2024 Friday’s Shabbat dinner was focused on family, and was held in Villa d’Este’s Impero room. Alexandra MacOn, Vogue, 16 Feb. 2024 Cultured Hollywood issue dinner Independent publication Cultured Magazine hosted an intimate dinner at Gigi’s Hollywood on Tuesday in celebration of its Art + Film issue, featuring cover stars LaKeith Stanfield and Charles Melton. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2024 This would work well for church, the office, and Easter dinner. Amanda Ogle, Southern Living, 16 Feb. 2024 With an assist from the Food Network starting in 2006, the annual festival has expanded into a robust four-day affair with more than 100 events, with tastings and demonstrations, raucous parties under tents on the beach and intimate private dinners. Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, 16 Feb. 2024 Sign up here to get one weeknight dinner recipe, tips for substitutions, techniques and more in your inbox Monday through Thursday. Daniela Galarza, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dinner.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English diner, from Anglo-French disner, diner meal, from disner to dine

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of dinner was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near dinner

Cite this Entry

“Dinner.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dinner. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


din·​ner ˈdin-ər How to pronounce dinner (audio)
: the main meal of the day

More from Merriam-Webster on dinner

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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