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Brunch has become quite a common word in the English language. Is there a similar word for a meal in place of dinner and lunch? (A phrase will also do).

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"Lunner" or "dinch" :) –  Kosmonaut Apr 22 '11 at 12:47
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I thought "tea time" served the Brits in that capacity. –  Robusto Apr 22 '11 at 13:26
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Dinner has traditionally been the largest meal of the day, whatever time it is eaten –  Henry Apr 22 '11 at 16:26
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What about Elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he? –  Ferruccio Apr 22 '11 at 19:44

3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

In US English, an afternoon snack is the best term I know of.

In the UK, there are lots of options, but they’re fraught with geographic and social connotations.

Afternoon tea will be understood everywhere, but seen in some places as upper-class; it’s traditionally not a full meal, but just eg a piece of cake or a sandwich and a cup of tea or coffee.

High tea is probably most analogous to brunch; it’s a light early-evening meal, usually had instead of rather than as well as dinner, and like with brunch/breakfast, someone who eats dinner or supper most evenings might well have high tea instead once in a while. High tea also has slight upper-class connotations in some areas, I think, but not everywhere.

Tea on its own can mean many things; to many people in the Midlands and the north of England, it means something like this, the main evening meal, but typically eaten rather earlier in the evening than people who call it dinner would eat. This usage used to have strong working-class connotations in the past, but now is more of a geographical distinction, I think.

While on the subject, there’s also supper; for some people again, supper means the main meal of the evening (I was brought up that way), while for others, who had probably dinner or high tea as their main meal, it’s a late-evening snack.

This is a run-down off the top of my head; there are almost certainly some nuances and distinctions I’ve missed. Whole dissertations have probably been written on the hermeneutics of English mealtime terminology…

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Whole dissertations have probably been written on the hermeneutics of English mealtime terminology... Haha, not at all hard to believe. Regional differences abound—what a beautiful world of English! –  Jimi Oke Apr 22 '11 at 16:59
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I take my meal cues from the Hobbits. They have seven meals a day: breakfast, second breakfast(my favorite), elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. –  Sam Apr 22 '11 at 22:08
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I grew up in Boston and supper was the word for everyday dinner at home, and dinner was for when you go out, or a fancy dinner at home –  Juan Mendes Apr 22 '11 at 22:49
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How dare you elide 'English mealtime terminology' and 'UK English'! Scottish meals have an entirely different terminology, and as for Northern Ireland... There is scope for a monograph on these vocabulary differences, but I think perhpas an American should not be the one to write it. –  TimLymington May 22 '13 at 9:44
    
@TimLymington: I didn’t mean to conflate those in the least; I wrote what I know (I’m half-Londoner, half-Yorkie), and I hope I qualified it all enough to make clear I wasn’t claiming comprehensiveness. I’ve never spent long enough in Scotland to get to know the different options there, so I’d be very interested to hear about them. –  PLL May 25 '13 at 13:30

There is no single mixed word along the lines of brunch for this. Sometimes people joke by coining a mixture of lunch and dinner/supper, giving lupper, dunch, etc. (As Kosmonaut mentioned.)

You might refer to a small afternoon meal as afternoon tea, though to me (American) this sounds British and upper-class. Otherwise you'd probably just call it a snack or a late lunch, if it's bigger than a snack.

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Lunch, dupper, hehe. I like that! –  Jimi Oke Apr 22 '11 at 22:39
    
A meal in-between Lunch and Super is called Sunch. –  user44674 May 22 '13 at 9:26

Well, depending on where you live, dinner could be a midday, late-afternoon/early-evening, or late-night meal. Lunch is usually a midday meal. In reality, there is no word for a meal in place of lunch and dinner (I assume you use dinner to mean an evening meal after a midday lunch.)

Dinner could be the main meal of your day, and whether you have it at noon, two o'clock, five o'clock, or eight o'clock, it remains your dinner. If you are going to have a substantial meal after breakfast, with only a very late snack in view before bed, then that meal becomes your dinner, no matter how weird that sounds.

I should point out, though, that in this day and age, especially for the yuppies, formal mealtimes may not be the norm. Plus, the usage of dinner for a midday or mid-afternoon meal, and other such formalisms as tea, etc, may now be considered quite old-fashioned. Thus, I would recommend sticking with either late lunch or early dinner for this particular situation.

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You are right about the lack of formal mealtimes. I was having my first bite of the day at 4 PM. –  apoorv020 Apr 22 '11 at 22:32

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