AskDefine | Define supper

Dictionary Definition



1 a light evening meal; served in early evening if dinner is at midday or served late in the evening at bedtime
2 a social gathering where a light evening meal is served; "her suppers often included celebrities"

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. food consumed before going to bed.
  2. dinner eaten at night, rather than at lunchtime.
  3. A drinker, especially one who drinks slowly (i.e., one who sups).


food before going to bed
dinner at night

Derived terms

See also


  1. To consume a snack before retiring.
  2. To eat dinner (see above).


to eat dinner

Extensive Definition

Supper is the name for the evening meal in some dialects of English - ordinarily the last meal of the day.
The term is derived from the French souper, which is still used for this meal in Canadian French and sometimes in Belgian French. It is related to soup. It is also related to the German word for soup, suppe. (The OED, however, suggests that the root, sup, retains obscure origins. OED Online, Accessed 31 October 2007.)

Other meanings

Supper is always an evening meal, but must be noted that supper is not a common meal in many cultures.
In Britain, whereas "dinner" is a fairly formal evening meal, "supper" is used to describe a less formal, simpler family meal. In working class British homes (and also in Australia) "tea" can be used for the evening meal. In some areas in the United Kingdom, supper is a term for a snack eaten after the evening meal and before bed, usually consisting of a warm, milky drink and British biscuits or cereal. In the United Kingdom, particularly in Scots, Scottish English and Ulster Scots, a fish supper is a portion of fish and chips. The word is used also as a modifier in this way for a range of other similar meals, such as a "sausage supper", "pastie supper", "haggis supper" and indicates the addition of chips.
In Australian English, supper may refer to a late light dessert or snack (such as toast and cereal) had some time after dinner. In New Zealand it is similar – generally cake and tea/coffee served later in the evening, particularly when people have visitors.
In most of the United States and Canada, "supper" and "dinner" are considered synonyms, both served between 6pm and 8pm, although in the rural American South serving between three and five o'clock is common. In the South, the term "dinner" can also be used to describe the meal at around 11am, while supper is used to denote the evening meal. A Southern "poor man's supper" consists of some type of beans such as pintoes, potatoes, fatback, and cornbread. In rural areas of the Upper Midwest supper is an evening meal which is adapted to the daily rhythm of farm life and similar to eating customs in northern Europe where most of the inhabitants originate from. Supper is the last of three to five daily meals: breakfast, (morning lunch), dinner, (afternoon lunch or "coffee") and supper. The main meal is between 11.30am and 1pm. Supper is usually lighter and often consists of bread with cold meat, cheese, soup, salads, fried potatoes, egg dishes and / or dairy products. The decline of typical Midwestern farm culture and urbanization of American language and habits has led to a change in Midwestern eating habits in the past thirty years. Supper is still usually considered lighter fare and a more casual setting, and may be served before a usual dinner time so that evening activities may be unaffected.
In the Republic of Ireland, a "chicken supper" is a meal of chips, gravy, onions, peas and chicken breast.
In Germany supper is called Abendessen (evening meal) or Abendbrot (evening bread). The main meal ("Mittagessen" or dinner) is usually at noontime. Supper is generally eaten between 5.30pm and 8pm. A large variety of breads and rolls are baked for this meal. Cold meats, sausages, various sorts of ham, cheese, pickles, tomatoes and other sliced vegetables are served with the bread. Usually one drinks coffee or herbal tea, fruit juices, milk or beer with this meal.
In Portugal, Spain, Latin America, Asia and the Arab World, supper may be taken as late as 10pm or 11 pm.
In the Philippines, supper or in Tagalog, hapunan, is taken from as early as 6pm to 9 pm.
supper in Spanish: Cena
supper in Italian: Cena
supper in Hebrew: ארוחת ערב
supper in Dutch: Avondmaaltijd
supper in Japanese: 夜食
supper in Norwegian: Kveldsmat
supper in Polish: Kolacja
supper in Portuguese: Ceia
supper in Russian: Ужин
supper in Chinese: 夜宵
supper in Contenese: 宵夜

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

TV dinner, alfresco meal, barbecue, breakfast, brunch, buffet supper, clambake, coffee break, cookout, diner, dinner, elevenses, fish fry, high tea, hot luncheon, lunch, luncheon, mash, meat breakfast, petit dejeuner, picnic, tea, tea break, teatime, tiffin, wiener roast, wienie roast
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1