'Dinner' or Diner': What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 7, 2023

Do you eat at a ‘dinner’ or a ‘diner’? What’s the difference between these two words? We’ll help clear that up in this article, plus teach you how to use both words correctly in a sentence.

The quick answer is that ‘dinner’ is a meal you eat in the evening. A ‘diner’ is a place you might eat that dinner, also known as a type of restaurant.

‘Diner’ vs. ‘Dinner’ – What’s the Difference?

We’ve just learned that ‘diner’ is a type of restaurant and ‘dinner’ is the meal you eat in the evening (following lunch). 

‘Diner’ vs. ‘Dinner’ – How to Use Each Correctly

Only use ‘diner’ when referring to a restaurant, a physical location where people can go and eat a meal, or a train car.

Only use ‘dinner’ when talking about the final meal of the evening – the meal that follows lunch.

They both come from the root word ‘dine.’

Definition and Meaning of ‘Diner’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘diner’ is: “a person who dines (as in a restaurant) or who is dining,” “a dining car,” “chiefly US: a typically small, informal, and inexpensive restaurant that has an extensive menu and that is often made from or designed to resemble a modified railroad dining car.”

Some synonyms of the word include:

  • Beanery
  • Restaurant
  • Café
  • Eatery
  • Grill
  • Caff [British]

Definition and Meaning of ‘Dinner’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘dinner’ is: “the principal meal of the day,” “a formal feast or banquet,” “table d’hôte,” “the food prepared for a dinner,” “a packaged meal usually for quick preparation.”

Synonyms of the word include:

  • Banquet
  • Regale
  • Feast
  • Spread
  • Feed

Phrases Containing ‘Dinner’

  • Dinner Party
  • TV dinner
  • Dinner table
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Dinner jacket
  • Dinner theater

How to Use ‘Diner’ in a Sentence

Now that we know what both words mean, we can look at some examples of how to use them in a sentence. Here are some examples of how to use ‘diner.’

  • My mom and I used to go to a diner every Saturday night when I was a kid.
  • There’s a diner around the corner from my house. Meet me there.
  • Let’s go to my favorite diner tonight. I love their fries.
  • I was never really a fan of diners. They never get my food right.
  • My principal brought back food from a diner for lunch. It was sad.
  • I used to love going to the diner for lunch with my girlfriend during a long day.

How to Use ‘Dinner’ in a Sentence

Now, let’s see some examples of how to use ‘dinner.’

  • I cannot cook dinner another night. I have to study for finals.
  • I’m the only one who wants vegetarian meals for dinner. My husband and kids love meat.
  • After dinner, let’s get vanilla caramel ice cream.
  • My father makes us sit at the table when we eat dinner. He likes us to eat as a family.
  • For dinner, let’s hit the drive thru. I’m craving burgers and fries.
  • Dinner was pretty eventful last night. My brother got arrested.

Concluding Thoughts on ‘Dinner’ and ‘Diner’

Now that you know that ‘dinner’ is a meal and ‘diner’ is a type of restaurant, you should have no problem using the words in a sentence, especially with the above examples as a guide.

If you ever get stuck, feel free to pop back over for a quick refresher. We’ve also got a ton of other content dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases in the English language. Don’t be afraid to go check it out.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.