How do you define a meal (i.e. "breakfast" "lunch" and "dinner")

How do you define a meal, i.e. breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Is it by the time of day? As in “I am eating breakfast because it is 8 a.m. in the morning”

Or is it based on the sequence or order of the meal? As in, “I am having lunch because this is the second meal of the deal for me”

Or is it based on the type of food you are eating? Like, “I am having dinner because I am eating steak and potatoes (for example)”

  • Time of Day
  • Sequence or order
  • Type of food

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I am reminded of the Stephen Wright joke about a diner menu proclaiming “we serve breakfast anytime.”

By now everyone knows the punchline.

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I generally don’t eat anything before noon, and I don’t especially like typical breakfast foods like eggs, sausage/bacon or fried potatoes. I don’t like cold cereal or hot oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, biscuits or sausage gravy. There’s really not much in the breakfast vocabulary that entices me to eat at that time of day.


I had to Google. So now I know who Stephen Wright is.

That may be my “learn something new every day” box ticked early on.


His humor is delivered in a very dry, monotone voice. He’s hysterical. Met him once at a bar in Somerville, MA - his “real” persona is not as much like that - there’s actual animation in his voice, although he’s very soft spoken.

And for the most part, it’s a time of day for me. Then again, I’ll have scrambled eggs and an English muffin for dinner at times (i.e., after 6:00 p.m.), so that becomes “Breakfast for Dinner”.


I’m with you.
Especially sugary things.
Makes me crash :disappointed: in the morning.


You may enjoy British comedian Milton Jones who seems to have a similar style.

"“So I phoned up the spiritual leader of Tibet, and he sent me a large goat with a long neck. Turns out I phoned Dial-a-Llama.”

More here -

And here -




I don’t - neither by time nor sequence nor type of food, which is why I am often stumped as to which thread to post my first meal of the day to. I don’t lose any sleep over it, tho.

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Great topic. To me, a ‘meal’ is something that I ingest sitting down, no matter the time of day or night or food. I could have a ‘meal’ sitting down in a restaurant, at someone’s home, at the ballpark, or riding in the car or on a train. Sit! Eat!

So standing and eating equals a snack?

Time of day, because whatever I eat in the morning breaks the fast.

Also, I often eat cake, pizza or leftovers from dinner for breakfast.


So liberating.

What if you sleep in and your first meal of the day was, for example, at 1 p.m.?

Still lunch for @small_h even though it’s the first meal of your day?

And for @Phoenikia still breakfast, even though it’s theoretically lunch time?

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For me, I call my first meal breakfast or brunch, no matter when I have it.

I usually call it brunch after 12 noon.

I often have a 2 meal day, which is effectively brunch and supper.


Yes. Say you work right through your lunch hour without having time to eat. Your 7pm meal is not now lunch. It’s dinner. You skipped lunch.


Immensely. One less thing to worry about.

Curious if / why this is somehow controversial?


Is it coming off as conroversial?

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