Definition of supper in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsʌpə/


1An evening meal, typically a light or informal one: we had a delicious cold supper [mass noun]: I was sent to bed without any supper
More example sentences
  • It was obviously meant for family meals or private informal suppers with friends.
  • Originating in London, the spa towns and developing seaside resorts to provide entertainment for their seasonal influx of visitors, Assemblies consisted of a concert followed by dancing, card games and a light supper.
  • They will be greeted with a light supper before heading to the local pub for a drink.
dinner, evening meal, main meal;
feast, banquet, repast;
British  tea
evening snack
informal bite, bite to eat
formal collation, refection
1.1 [with modifier] Scottish & Northern English A meal consisting of the specified food with chips: a fish supper
More example sentences
  • But his hymn to a vanishing craft is somewhat undercut by his ruthlessly unsentimental portrait of the human cost it exacted and of the appalling risks men endured so that others could enjoy a fish supper.
  • For the price of a fish supper, you can be in a public space with them, sometimes so close you can actually smell the fear!


sing for one's supper

Earn a favour or benefit by providing a service in return: the cruise lecturers are academics singing for their supper
More example sentences
  • But I sometimes wonder what it would be like to just be a normal guest, rather than someone who sings for their supper.
  • Though ostensibly a study of contemporary trends, the programme relied almost exclusively on picturesque images from the long-gone era of horse-drawn wagons, roadside tinsmithery and jolly beggarmen singing for their supper.
  • Reason is I'm doing a bit of network support for a friend while I'm there - singing for my supper, as it were.



Pronunciation: /ˈsʌpələs/
Example sentences
  • I threw everything out on the floor of the hotel room, crawled shivering and supperless to bed and lay in a miserable huddle.
  • Nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, Benjamin Franklin observed that it is ‘better to go to bed supperless than wake up in debt.’
  • The men had no water to drink and no food to eat, for they had no water in which to cook their rice, so they went thirsty and supperless to bed.


Middle English: from Old French super 'to sup' (used as a noun) (see sup2).

  • sop from Old English:

    The Old English word sop first meant ‘to dip bread in liquid’—Chaucer says of his Franklin ‘Wel loved he in the morn a sop in wyn’—but nowadays a sop is something you do or offer as a concession to appease someone. This was originally used in the phrase a sop to Cerberus, referring to the monstrous three-headed watchdog which, in Greek mythology, guarded the entrance of Hades. In the Aeneid Virgil describes how the witch guiding Aeneas to the underworld threw a drugged cake to Cerberus, which allowed the hero to pass the monster in safety. When soppy, which comes from sop, first appeared in English in the early 19th century it meant ‘soaked with water’, not tears, as you might expect today from a feeble, sentimental soppy person. The writer H. G. Wells was one of the first to use the word in this sense. Soup (Middle English) comes from the French form of the same word. The American from soup to nuts for ‘from beginning to end’ dates from the early 20th century, while in the soup, also originally American and a variant of being in hot water is slightly earlier. Sip (Old English), sup (Old English), and supper (Middle English) go back to the same root.

Words that rhyme with supper

crupper, cuppa, scupper, upper

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sup¦per

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