noun, often attributive
din·​ner | \ ˈdi-nər How to pronounce dinner (audio) \

Definition of dinner

1a : the principal meal of the day having dinner at five o'clock
b : a formal feast or banquet held a dinner in her honor
3 : the food prepared for a dinner eat your dinner
4 : a packaged meal usually for quick preparation warmed up a frozen dinner

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dinner

dinnerless \ ˈdi-​nər-​ləs How to pronounce dinnerless (audio) \ adjective

Frequently Asked Questions About dinner

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web As for small gestures, have dinner sent over via delivery, because dinnertime is especially hellacious for parents of young children these days, or have groceries sent. Meghan Leahy, Washington Post, "Our grandson is regressing amid the pandemic. How can we help from afar?," 13 May 2020 Speculations about various possibilities are now routine over dinner and stressful for the team. Pradeep Tomar, Quartz India, "Indian scientists in Antarctica are under their own version of a lockdown," 13 May 2020 Kahler said politics were as common as potatoes at the family dinner table. Craig Webb, cincinnati.com, "Kent State shootings: Paralyzed by a bullet, he still loves Kent State, urges others to be 'good citizens'," 2 May 2020 The evening of launch, Whitman wound down by having dinner (veggie-burger, cauliflower, edamame, salad) in Sacramento with her husband of 40 years, Dr. Griffith Harsh. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "Can this star-studded startup revolutionize video streaming?," 15 Apr. 2020 Even simple things like getting dressed in real clothes every morning and sitting down to a real dinner every night have helped to steady me. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Talking to the Ghost of Quarantine Future," 7 Apr. 2020 He and his entourage had been invited to every VIP hacker party on the strip, taken out to dinner by journalists, and accosted by fans seeking selfies. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet," 12 May 2020 Instead, give your partner or other family member full ownership over dinner. NBC News, "A 5-step plan to reset the unfair division of labor at home during COVID-19," 12 May 2020 The William Morris Endeavor agency usually hosts a cheek-by-jowl dinner at Peter Luger. John Koblin, New York Times, "NBC Trades Radio City for a Livestream to Give Advertisers a Taste of Fall," 11 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dinner.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dinner

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

History and Etymology for dinner

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dinner

Time Traveler for dinner

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for dinner

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dinner.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dinner. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dinner


How to pronounce dinner (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dinner

: the main meal of the day
: a usually large formal event at which dinner is eaten
: a cooked and packaged meal that usually only needs to be heated before it is eaten


din·​ner | \ ˈdi-nər How to pronounce dinner (audio) \

Kids Definition of dinner

1 : the main meal of the day
2 : a usually large formal event at which a meal is served

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dinner

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dinner

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dinner

Spanish Central: Translation of dinner

Nglish: Translation of dinner for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dinner for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dinner

What made you want to look up dinner? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!