If Sunday, Monday, Tuesday are considered “days”, and spring, summer, autumn/fall, winter are considered “seasons”, then what category name corresponds to things like breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and deserts?

I’m looking for a category name better than food or recipe or course.

Background: I created an app for recipes and wanted to have a name for the filter with which the user can choose a different “type” (this is the word I'm looking for) of recipes.

  • 10
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner are called Meals. Non-meal light food consumption is generally called Snacks even if you're eating something that would normally be a dessert item.
    – Hellion
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 4:09
  • 2
    Meals: breakfast , lunch, and tea / high tea, supper, dinner. A snack might be called a small meal but a dessert is a sweet, or a menu course. I would not classify the latter as a meal. You need to give us a more thorough list, we do not read users' minds! :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 4:24
  • @PermanentGuest: Thank you, that is helpful. So you want something that will work in a sentence like "Users can filter recipes by ____" and it will suggest that they can choose to look only at recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts etc.
    – herisson
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 4:41
  • @sumelic : Exactly. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 4:46
  • dish/es is the best I can come up with. But if I post that suggestion, it will get downvoted for lack of accuracy. blah, blah...breakfast, nor dinner are a "dish"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 5:03

2 Answers 2



  1. A list of the dishes to be served or available for a meal.
  2. The dishes served or available at a meal.

a list of dishes served at a meal or that can be ordered in a restaurant

Worth noting from earlier comments:

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner are called Meals. Non-meal light food consumption is generally called Snacks even if you're eating something that would normally be a dessert item. - Hellion


  1. the food served and eaten especially at one of the customary, regular occasions for taking food during the day, as breakfast, lunch, or supper.
  2. one of these regular occasions or times for eating food.


a small portion of food or drink or a light meal, especially one eaten between regular meals.

  • This answer is an experiment of sort.
    – NVZ
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 20:53

Hellion's suggestion (seconded and ably expanded by NVZ) that meal covers any of the three main occasions for taking food during a usual day, and that snack covers any occasion for taking food at times other than those identified as meals, seems commonsense and well conceived. The only place where that classification might run into trouble is in figuring out how to handle a fourth regular occasion for taking food, as with tea time: is tea a meal or a snack or something else when it occurs daily and involves such comestibles as cucumber-and-watercress sandwiches and cake? I'm inclined to call it a "light meal" (as breakfast, lunch, and supper can be in some circumstances). Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) goes so far as to define high tea as

a fairly substantial late afternoon or early evening meal at which tea is served

As for a single word that comprehends "heavy meal," "light meal," and "snack," there isn't a very satisfactory one, as far as I can tell. But one that you might press into service is repast, which is a fairly common word and yet doesn't have as narrowly fixed a meaning as meal. Here is the Eleventh Collegiate's definition of repast:

repast n (14c) 1 : something taken as food : MEAL 2 : the act or time of taking food

From these definitions, it appears that a feast, a banquet, a regular meal, a light meal, and a snack all qualify as repasts. Elsewhere (in its definition of the far less common word refection), the Eleventh Collegiate offers this interesting equivalence: "food and drink together : REPAST." According to that definition, a glass of Coca-Cola and a packet of crisps is a repast.

  • I wouldn't say repast is a fairly common word. I'd say it used to be one, and certainly, according to ngram, compared with meal it is used much less frequently books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 23:06
  • @Mari-LouA: Yes, its performance in that Ngram looks pretty dismal. And I was very surprised to see that repast isn't substantially more common these days than refection (a word that I never hear used), according to this Ngram. Maybe I should change my characterization of the word from "fairly common" to "not vanishingly rare." Or maybe it is vanishingly rare...
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 23:16
  • I really dislike judging a word's "commonness" with an Ngram especially when comparing against a word with a different meaning (although not dramatically different). Sure repast may not be the word that diet books use to talk about how many calories per meal, but it's not a word that a well-read person would be completely unfamiliar with. Now refection, that word is old fashioned and rare :)
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 23:46

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