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

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Other Words from dinner

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

Synonyms for dinner


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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Students could now log into classes from their homes as kids ran around the dinner table or while on break at work, eliminating barriers for people like Covarrubias Cruz. Emily Donaldson, Dallas News, "Dallas residents eager for GED classes flocked to the library when classes restarted online," 30 Apr. 2021 The answer across the board has been that cuts of beef and pork, and even chicken to an extent, were rare dinner table items because of their scarcity and relative cost. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "There Is No War on Meat. There Should Be.," 26 Apr. 2021 Oxtails — the 2- to 4-pound tailbones of beef cattle, typically cut into 3-inch hunks ideal for braising — never once landed on the dinner table during my white middle-class Maryland upbringing. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, "Next time, order the oxtails," 24 Apr. 2021 Growing up in Rochester, NY, Bell noted that wine was not on her family’s dinner table every night. Liz Thach, Forbes, "Black Wine Entrepreneurs Find Passion, Racism & Legacy, Study Shows," 21 Apr. 2021 Khichdi, or watery lentils cooked with rice, has replaced eggs and chicken at the dinner table. New York Times, "Covid-19 Pushes India’s Middle Class Toward Poverty," 16 Apr. 2021 However, just because a TikTok about sloshing down to the family dinner table after spending a day reading smut can get 1M views, doesn’t mean it’s mainstream. Michelle Santiago Cortés, refinery29.com, "Fanfiction Is Cringey & Beautiful — No Wonder It’s Having A Moment," 13 Apr. 2021 Your family will likely enjoy its light, nutty flavor for a change of pace at the dinner table. Leah Zerbe, Good Housekeeping, "The 15 Healthiest Whole Grains You Should Be Eating," 12 Apr. 2021 So there's something exhilarating about being in Brown's home in John Day, with loggers and environmental lawyers arguing amiably around a dinner table, antagonists who have also become friends. Arkansas Online, "Finding common ground," 11 Apr. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for dinner

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dinner

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dinner.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dinner. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for dinner



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

Comments on dinner

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