When it comes to dinner time, there’s a great range of vocabulary used up and down the country. Some call it dinner, others refer to it as tea, and then there’s the word supper – which a recent survey has revealed will apparently make you ‘posh’ for using.
That’s right; research by Travelodge has revealed that over a quarter of Britons (26 per cent of the 2,000 surveyed) believe that if you use the word supper, you are posh. Equally, if you use the word tea, you are assumed to be from the North.
The survey saw a clear north-south divide in terms of how the last meal of the day is referred to, with the majority of southerners claiming it should be called dinner, and the majority of those from the north agreeing it’s actually tea.
These findings were even divided into specific areas of the country:
- Birmingham – dinner (49 per cent)
- Brighton – dinner (82 per cent)
- Bristol – tea (52 per cent)
- Cambridge – dinner (64 per cent)
- Cardiff – tea (47 per cent)
- Edinburgh – dinner (74 per cent)
- Glasgow – dinner (74 per cent)
- Leeds – tea (61 per cent)
- Leicester – tea (71 per cent)
- Liverpool – tea (58 per cent)
- London – dinner (80 per cent)
- Manchester – tea (67 per cent)
- Newcastle – tea (66 per cent)
- Nottingham – tea (51 per cent)
- Oxford – dinner (70 per cent)
Just one in twenty surveyed (5 per cent) called the meal supper, which was later deemed to be a sign someone is posh.
So where exactly have these differing terms derived from? Dinner traditionally refers to the largest meal of the day, no matter what time that is. It is derived from the non-Classical Latin word disjējūnāre, which is defined as breaking a fast.
Tea originally started out as being ‘high tea,’ which referred to snacks and a hearty meal, and was usually served at around 6pm. It is an alternative to ‘afternoon tea,’ that many began adopting for their main evening meal.
Supper has always referred to a lighter evening meal, and comes from the old French word souper. It is perhaps the most time specific out of the three.
Whatever you can it, we think we can all agree that dinner/supper/tea is one of the best meals of the day!