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Meals and Mealtimes in Britain - What Are They Called?

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Question: Meals and Mealtimes in Britain - What Are They Called?
The names of meals and mealtimes in Britain is often very confusing to anyone visiting Britain or Ireland. Why are they so different?
Answer:

The names for meals and meal times in Britain is confusing and to add to the confusion, it varies across the British Isles. The choice of which word is often considered an indicator of social class in Britain.

Here’s a quick translator of British mealtimes.

  • Breakfast – also called brekkie, the same everywhere.
  • Elevenses – morning coffee break
  • Lunch - in some areas called dinner. Sunday lunch is also often called Sunday dinner, lunch in schools in also referred to as school dinner.
  • Afternoon Tea – traditionally eaten around 3 – 4 o Clock.
  • Tea – eaten early evening and the main meal of the day (dinner) and is considered a mainly northern working-class term.
  • Dinner eaten from early to late evening
  • Supper – an evening meal and a snack before bedtime.
  • An invitation to supper would mean the arrangement is more casual than an invitation to dinner, which is usually more formal.

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