Hey, Kentucky! Did You Know There’s Actually a Difference Between Supper and Dinner?
Before I launch into this, I feel as if I need to fully divulge where I stand in the great Supper vs. Dinner debate. I freaking loathe the word "supper." I don't know why, but I think it's gross and I think it sounds trashy. I know this acknowledgement makes me sound like Noah Webster's crazy cousin, but I cannot stand that word and I never ever ever use it. I always use the word "dinner" to reference the final meal of the day. So, there's that. I've come clean and exposed my bias like I am flashing people in a public park. I've let all my preconceived notions dangle forth from my trench coat.
Now that I have laid the framework, I'm curious, Which word do you use? This morning, we asked our friends on the WBKR Facebook page. Is it supper or is dinner?
We're not the only ones who've asked. A few years ago, Conde Nast Traveler polled the crowd as well. They asked 50 people- one from each state in the U.S. and asked them the same question. Do fifty people know the difference between dinner and supper?
Here's what they had to say.
I am truly curious to how these words came to mean virtually the same thing in our vernacular. And, they do, by the way. Well, essentially. According to Merriam-Webster, Dinner and supper are both used to refer to the main meal of the day. Supper is used especially when the meal is an informal one eaten at home, while dinner tends to be the term chosen when the meal is more formal.
See! I prefer a more "formal" dining experience, even if I am eating my dinner on the couch, in front of the television, wearing nothing but a t-shirt, boxer briefs and tube socks. Don't judge me.
According to a 2021 Reader's Digest article, "dinner" is the more popular word. Excuse me while I take a brief moment to relish my victory and do an internal toe touch as I type this. YES!!!!! The majority of us prefer and use the word "dinner."
However, this is interesting and full credit goes to Brittany Gibson, who wrote that inadvertently Chad-affirming Reader's Digest piece. According to her research, the word "supper" has roots with farmers from the 18th and 19th century. They used the word "supper" for the evening meal, because it was more of a snack to them. The biggest meal of the day, "dinner", was typically consumed during the middle of the day. That meal was basically used as fuel to get them through the rest of their work day on the farm. Naturally, as Americans started working away from their homes and farms, that tradition of a big meal at noon fell by the wayside and "dinner" moved to the evening time.
So, there you have it! There, historically, was a difference between "supper" and "dinner." But now, those words are used interchangeably.
Which do you prefer? Supper vs. Dinner?