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Hmm . . . this seems mostly right, but I'm not sure it's completely right. I believe the main variants in the US are

  • breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • breakfast/lunch/supper
  • breakfast/dinner/supper

I'm not sure if dinner is necessarily the larger meal in the last case. Dinner for lunch is something I've heard of but haven't really heard personally. Supper and dinner tend to be more interchangeable, but I've read of dinner being scorned as a yankeeism for supper. It was not clear whether the implication was that dinner itself was an intrusion, or just the usage of dinner to mean supper. -dmh 16:03, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Here's a good run-down: -dmh 16:07, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

In Australia it's usually breakfast/lunch/tea or breakfast/lunch/dinner. "Tea" seems to be losing ground on "dinner" but I'm out of touch living with foreigners. Supper is an extra snack later than dinner or maybe instead of dinner if you missed it.
"Dinner" is sometimes used to refer to lunch, especially if it's a big, cooked meal like a Sunday roast. This leaves open the possibility of breakfast/dinner/tea but I can't be sure if people really use that system. — Hippietrail 16:11, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
I can say as an Australian breakfast/dinner/tea is certainly how I was brought up. Sabretoof 21:37, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
I too can say as an Australian that dinner was referred to as the main meal of the day, whether it was the midday meal or the evening meal. Now, however, I am encountering many fellow Australian who insist that dinner is the evening meal irrespective of whether it is the main meal or a light meal. Skelta
Heh.. I grew up in w:Chattanooga, a breakfast/dinner/supper region (and indeed so it was written on the university's cafeteria menus). "Dinner" is not necessarily the largest meal in such a circumstance; in my experience it was just treated as either a synonym for "lunch" or "supper" depending on the speaker. (My family used "dinner" only, leaving "supper" as a disambiguation word.) —Muke Tever 16:39, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

RFC discussion: July 2015–May 2017[edit]

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for cleanup (permalink).

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links to dinner

See Special:WhatLinksHere/dinner. Dinner can refer to either the midday meal or the evening meal. Glosses need to be added to the many entries which define themselves simply as "dinner" (see Special:WhatLinksHere/dinner) to indicate which meal is meant. Perhaps, in the interest of not confusing people, dinner should be removed altogether from definitions and replaced with either "lunch (midday meal)" or "supper (evening meal)". For example, I just "clarified" kvöldmatur, but it would probably still confuse a working-class Brit as much as e.g. "breakfast (evening meal)". - -sche (discuss) 04:12, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

Even worse, there is no such thing as the midday meal or the evening meal. Every culture has its own mealtimes that do not necessarily correspond to other cultures. Ideally definitions of meals should indicate roughly what time it is eaten at, what kind of food is generally eaten (heavy?, light?, etc.), who the meal is generally eaten with (family?, coworkers?, etc.), where the meal is generally eaten (home?, work?, etc.), etc. --WikiTiki89 14:41, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
I've only looked at the first few links, but they all seem to be appropriately linked to dinner. Which others are not appropriate? (We working-class Brits are not that easily confused, but thanks, Sche, for clarifying kvöldmatur. ) Dbfirs 16:04, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
It's not the linking that -sche was complaining about, but definitions that just say # [[dinner]] without specifying which meaning of "dinner". --WikiTiki89 16:30, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Right. Links like Abendbrot which clarify which meal they mean are OK, I suppose, but hapunan is defined only as "dinner", without any clarification of whether it refers to an evening meal or a midday meal. Pranzo is defined as "lunch, dinner", which could either mean it refers to the midday meal, or that it refers to the big meal of the day whether that meal is eaten at midday or in the evening.
Btw, in case it's not clear to anyone, my reference to working-class Brits is because dinner’s usage notes say they use it to refer to the midday meal, so I imagine a definition (like kvöldmatur’s} that to them means "midday meal" but is immediately glossed as "evening meal" is, ah, weird. Certainly, I would be confused if I saw a term defined as e.g. "breakfast (evening meal)". - -sche (discuss) 16:37, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Then you must be pretty confused by this. --WikiTiki89 16:49, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
I'd be confused if I were flipping through a Hebrew or Yiddish dictionary and it defined [whatever the term for that meal is] as "breakfast (evening meal)". (In German one wouldn't face that ambiguity/polysemy: Frühstück is exclusively an "early piece" of food.) It'd need to have the sort of additional clarification WP has. Incidentally, I'm curious if such a break-fast (or break fast, WP spells it both ways) is really pronounced or normally spelled the same way as breakfast, as breakfast currently implies. I've started Wiktionary:Tea room/2015/July#breakfast. - -sche (discuss) 17:17, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Thanks, I didn't look far enough down the list. I agree that clarification is needed, but "dinner (evening meal)" is seldom confusing to us working-class Brits because we have heard the middle class talking! Apparently, Italians use pranzo to mean either pasto di mezzogiorno or pasto principale depending on context. The British are not the only nation that gets confused. Dbfirs 16:52, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
I have been making another pass through the WhatLinksHere with AutoWikiBrowser. - -sche (discuss) 05:42, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

I've clarified all the entries I could, and will start a new thread for the ~30 entries I'd like help clarifying the meaning of. - -sche (discuss) 04:31, 9 May 2017 (UTC)