Supper or Dinner?

Do you call the evening meal “dinner” or “supper”? Being from the south, it’s supper to me! I just can’t get used to people calling their evening meal “dinner”. Dinner is a big meal in the middle of the day… like Sunday Dinner or Thanksgiving Dinner! Otherwise, we have lunch in the middle of the day and supper in the evening.

We watched an episode of The Andy Griffith Show the other day that has me baffled. It’s “Man in a Hurry”… wonderful episode! A business man is passing through Mayberry on a Sunday and has car trouble, so he ends up stuck in the little town most of the day. He arrives just as church is letting out, so Andy goes with him to the filling station to see what can be done about his car. The mechanic isn’t there, so they have to go to his house. He refuses to work on Sunday, so they go back to Andy’s house where Aunt Bee serves “supper.” I naturally assumed it was the evening meal and that all that running around took the whole afternoon.

However, after “supper” Andy and Barney go sit on the porch (in the daylight) and sing with Andy’s guitar for awhile, then Barney says he’s going to go home and take a nap, then go to Thelma Lou’s for a little TV. I wondered why he would take a nap in the evening after supper! Aunt Bee surely meant “dinner” when she was serving it earlier. But that’s not all! Pretty soon Gomer comes along and says Goober can fix the man’s car, so they go off to do that. When they come back with the car, Aunt Bee is disappointed that the man is going to leave because she is making ice cream. So the man decides to stay the night. In the next scene, Barney is back on the porch with Andy and their guest. It is dark now, and Andy and Barney decide to go downtown to get a bottle of pop.

If they did all that after “supper” I gotta wonder how early they ate supper? It’s just bugging me! I think they should have rightly called it “dinner”!


  • Annette

    I've heard those terms intermingled. Both sets of grandparents had their big meals at lunch and then a pick-me-up in the evenings. The noontime meal was always lunch, evening was dinner.

    I'm curious to read what you find. =)

  • Keetha Broyles

    If we had a formal sit down affair at night, we MIGHT call it dinner – – – but for the carry out or frozen stuff we eat, it's definitely SUPPER.

    Furthermore, I eat LUNCH at noon. So, I only have DINNER on holidays!!!

    And I ain't from the south neither!


  • Arby

    When Jonathan Harker arrived at Count Dracula’s castle late in the evening the Count had a meal prepared for him. When asked if he would be joining Mr. Harker in the meal, the Count answered, “You will I trust, excuse me that I do not join you, but I have dined already, and I do not sup." Diner would have been the large afternoon meal. Supper would have been the evening meal. This was probably the standard for Stoker's British society at the time he wrote the novel.

  • CrossView

    I always take it as the casual big meal in the evening is supper and the nicer meal is dinner, whenever it's served.
    But then, you can't have supper at noon…
    But then again, dinner should be the evening meal because I was never invited out on a date to "supper" just for "dinner and a movie"….


  • CC

    I well remember that show..my husband is an Andy nut..and I've probably watched that show 30 times. I'm from the south as well..and lunch is at noon and supper is night.
    Dinner was Sunday dinner..or a special dinner like Thanksgiving or Christmas. We all need to group together and say..what the heck is going on here..:). I would like to have some of Aunt Bee's fried chicken and ice cream tho.

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