What Do You Call “Lunch And Dinner”

What Do You Call “Lunch And Dinner”

Lunch and dinner, like two sides of a coin, represent the midday and evening meals enjoyed by people around the world.

The terminology used to refer to these meals varies across different cultures and regions, reflecting the diverse linguistic traditions that shape our global culinary landscape. This article aims to explore how lunch and dinner are called in various parts of the world, shedding light on the rich tapestry of gastronomic customs.

Starting with North America, both the United States and Canada predominantly use ‘lunch’ for their midday meal and ‘dinner’ for their evening meal. In contrast, across the pond in the United Kingdom, ‘lunch’ often refers to a lighter midday meal while ‘dinner’ typically denotes an elaborate evening affair. Similarly, Australia and New Zealand follow this pattern.

When we venture into Europe’s cultural mosaic, we find a wide range of terminology for these meals. For instance, in Spain and Italy, ‘almuerzo’ or ‘pranzo’ describe lunchtime while ‘cena’ stands for dinner. In Asian countries like China and Japan, however, terms such as ‘zhongcan’, ‘hirugohan’, or even specific names referring to particular dishes are employed.

By delving into these regional nuances surrounding mealtimes worldwide, this article aims to foster cross-cultural understanding while appreciating the diversity that flavors our daily routines.

Key Takeaways

  • Different cultures and regions have different terminology for lunch and dinner.
  • In the United States and Canada, lunch refers to the midday meal and dinner to the evening meal.
  • In the United Kingdom, lunch is a lighter midday meal and dinner is a more elaborate evening affair.
  • Asian meals reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region through flavors and presentation.

United States and Canada

In the United States and Canada, the terms ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner’ are commonly used to refer to midday and evening meals, respectively.

Cultural differences in meal times between the United States and Canada can be attributed to various factors, including historical influences and immigration patterns.

The influence of immigration on mealtime terminology in the United States and Canada has resulted in a diverse culinary landscape with varying mealtime traditions.

For instance, in some regions of Canada, particularly those with a strong British influence, dinner is traditionally served around 6 pm, while in other regions influenced by French culture, dinner may be served later in the evening.

Similarly, due to the influx of immigrants from different countries with their own unique mealtime traditions, there is no uniformity in mealtime terminology across the United States.

As a result, lunch and dinner can vary both temporally and semantically depending on regional customs.

United Kingdom

The meal consumed during midday and the evening in the United Kingdom is commonly referred to as a combination of sustenance that not only nourishes the body but also evokes a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. British meal times typically consist of lunch and dinner, with lunch being eaten around midday and dinner in the evening.

Traditional British dishes are often associated with these mealtimes, such as fish and chips, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, or shepherd’s pie. Lunches can vary from quick sandwiches or salads to more substantial meals like a ploughman’s lunch.

Dinner is usually the main meal of the day, where families gather together for a larger spread that may include meats, vegetables, potatoes, and gravy. These traditional British dishes reflect the rich culinary heritage of the United Kingdom and continue to be enjoyed by many today.

Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand share a culinary tradition where the midday and evening meals are commonly referred to as two distinct times of sustenance that provide a sense of nourishment and satisfaction, with traditional dishes like meat pies and pavlova being enjoyed by many.

Australian cuisine is known for its diverse flavors influenced by Indigenous, British, Mediterranean, and Asian cultures. Traditional dishes in Australia include Vegemite on toast, lamingtons (sponge cake coated in chocolate icing and desiccated coconut), and Anzac biscuits (oat-based cookies).

On the other hand, New Zealand cuisine is characterized by its use of fresh ingredients such as seafood, lamb, and dairy products. Traditional New Zealand dishes include hangi (a Maori method of cooking food underground using heated rocks), kumara (sweet potato) fritters, and hokey pokey ice cream (vanilla ice cream with honeycomb toffee pieces).

These traditional dishes showcase the unique culinary heritage of both countries.


Europe offers a diverse range of culinary delights rooted in the rich cultural history of its various regions and countries. Cultural differences in mealtimes are evident across Europe, with lunch and dinner being referred to by different names. In Spain, for example, lunch is known as ‘almuerzo’ and dinner as ‘cena.’ Similarly, in Italy, lunch is called ‘pranzo’ while dinner is known as ‘cena.’

Traditional European dishes vary widely from country to country, showcasing the unique flavors and ingredients of each region. Some popular examples include French escargot, German sauerkraut, Italian pasta dishes like carbonara or lasagna, Greek moussaka, and British fish and chips. These dishes not only reflect the culinary traditions but also highlight the historical influences that have shaped European cuisine over centuries.


Asia, with its vast and diverse culinary traditions, offers a treasure trove of flavors and ingredients that have captivated taste buds around the world.

Asian cuisine is known for its intricate preparation methods, unique spices, and emphasis on fresh ingredients.

Mealtime traditions in Asia vary across different countries but generally revolve around communal dining experiences.

Lunch and dinner hold great significance in Asian cultures as they provide an opportunity for families and friends to come together and share a meal.

Popular dishes for lunch include rice-based meals such as fried rice or noodle dishes like Pad Thai in Thailand.

For dinner, dishes like Sushi in Japan or Chinese stir-fried vegetables with meat are commonly enjoyed.

These meals not only nourish the body but also reflect the rich cultural heritage of Asia through their flavors and presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the typical meal times for lunch and dinner in the United States and Canada?

Typical meal times in the United States and Canada vary, but lunch is generally between 12 pm and 1 pm, while dinner is typically served between 6 pm and 8 pm. Regional variations exist in the names and timings of lunch and dinner in the United Kingdom.

Are there any regional variations in the names and timings of lunch and dinner in the United Kingdom?

Exploring regional variations in lunch and dinner names and timings across different regions of the United Kingdom reveals differences influenced by historical and cultural factors. Examining these factors provides understanding of traditional meal times in the UK.

Do Australia and New Zealand use the terms "lunch" and "dinner" interchangeably, or do they have different names for these meals?

In Australia and New Zealand, lunch and dinner are typically referred to as "lunch" and "dinner" respectively. Mealtime traditions in these countries may vary from other nations due to cultural influences and regional preferences.

How do European countries differ in their mealtime traditions for lunch and dinner?

European lunch traditions vary across countries, with some nations emphasizing a leisurely midday meal while others opt for a quick and light repast. Differences in dinner customs also exist, ranging from early evening meals to late-night dining experiences.

What are the main differences between Asian countries in terms of their lunch and dinner customs?

The lunch and dinner customs in Asian countries exhibit significant cultural variations. These differences can be seen in the timing, type of food consumed, dining etiquette, and social significance attached to these meals across different Asian cultures.


In the United States and Canada, the midday meal is commonly referred to as lunch and the evening meal is known as dinner.

In the United Kingdom, however, dinner usually refers to the midday meal and supper is used for the evening meal.

Similarly, in Australia and New Zealand, lunch is called lunch and dinner is often referred to as tea or sometimes even supper.

In Europe, the terms vary across different countries, with some using lunch and dinner while others use different names altogether.

In Asia, there are also varying terms for these meals depending on the country and culture.

Conclusion: It is fascinating how something as basic as mealtimes can be so diverse across different regions of the world. The way we refer to our midday and evening meals not only reflects our cultural differences but also highlights how language evolves within specific contexts. From lunch to dinner, tea to supper, each term carries its own historical significance that adds richness to our understanding of global gastronomy. So next time you sit down for a meal, take a moment to appreciate these linguistic nuances that make our dining experiences truly unique!

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