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dinner

When growing up on a sugar cane farm west of Mackay, North Qld in the sixties, dinner was the meal eaten in the middle of the day (now, years later in Brisbane, dinner refers to the evening meal). At the time we used the terms tea or supper interchangeably for the evening meal: What's for tea/supper?
Contributor's comments: An auntie who grew up in Sydney but now lives in Brisbane still refers to the meal eaten in the middle of the day as dinner.

Contributor's comments: In Central Qld we still call Lunch "Dinner" and Dinner "Tea". Also, morning and afternoon tea is "Smoko".

Contributor's comments: This was the same for me growing up in the sixties in SW WA. Dinner was at midday or there abouts and tea was the evening meal.

Contributor's comments: Breakfast, lunch and dinner with my Sydney relatives and breakfast, dinner and tea when visiting the family in Dubbo and Albury regions. That is the way it always seemed. A friend from Tamworth says the same.

Contributor's comments: [UK informant] Dinner is a posh word for Evening meal, Tea (meal at around 4pm) is for those with a sweet tooth, cakes with cucumber or the likes of sandwhiches, Supper, the last evening meal befor bed, a cookie/bisuit or toast with a drink, depending on your location & upbringing, & of course your Race!

Contributor's comments: The same shift of meaning has occurred in WA, also.

Contributor's comments: The word "dinner" was always used to describe the middday meal in the Adelaide region and the word "tea" to describe the evening meal.

Contributor's comments: My 86 year old Dad, who grew up in Geelong then lived 60 years in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, uses the word dinner this way.

Contributor's comments: In Tasmania 'dinner' is usually the meal (or snack) eaten in the middle of the day; though, if the midday meal is a snack it may be referred to as 'lunch', especially by school children, ie it's lunch-time. 'Tea' is the evening meal.

Contributor's comments: [Tasmanian informant] A light meal in the middle of the day; lunch: "I had a sandwich for dinner."

Contributor's comments: [Tasmanian informant] A meal eaten out in a restaurant or hotel in the evening: "We went out to dinner to celebrate his birthday."

Contributor's comments: [Central West NSW informant] Breakfast, lunch and dinner in our house - although my grandmother says dinner and tea. I was always told 'dinner' for the midday meal is more working class. We also say 'smoko' for morning and afternoon tea - we learned that as kids from the shearers.

Contributor's comments: Thank goodness that that the word "Dinner" still means the mid-day meal to most people. A local tavern near us had shopper dockets printed which offered a "two for one" meal deal for DINNER and as I had a day off in the middle of the week when this offer was available, I took my wife out to lunch on this docket. The tavern refused to honour the docket saying that "dinner was the evening meal and not the one in the middle of the day". I was made to pay for the two meals and have never returned to use their services since. I have noticed that now the shopper dockets read "Buy one Evening Meal" so others apart from myself may have complained. It's usage has nothing to do with being lower class for I attended a private school and was taught that the three meals of the day were breakfast, lunch and dinner and there were two snacks known as morning and afternoon tea. So that's the usage of the word in Brisbane.

Contributor's comments: Brisbane: Dinner has never been lunch in my life. Always tea. And it isn't posh as indicated by the UK informant.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Katoomba and Leura in the Blue Mountains. To me, "dinner" was always the evening meal. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, my wife, who also grew up in Katoomba, still sometimes refers to the midday meal as "dinner". This suggests that it may not be regionally based.

Contributor's comments: Growing up in Adelaide in the 60s and 70s, we ate lunch and tea. Strangely enough, this is a hybrid combination. In the UK working class people eat dinner and tea, and middle class people eat lunch and dinner. Working class people consider the word lunch to be posh, and middle class people see the word tea (for evening meal) as definitely down market. Americans on the other hand, only ever drink their tea, and call their evening meal dinner or supper. When they eat before going to bed, it's probably a midnight snack. It seems that the English-speaking world can only agree on breakfast!