'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.

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.

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