Out to Dinner: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
August 31, 2023

The idiom "out to dinner" can mean someone is away from their usual place to eat dinner, usually at a restaurant or someone else's house.

In short:

  • It can mean someone is eating dinner outside their normal location.

What Does "Out to Dinner" Mean?

The literal meaning of "out to dinner" is easy to understand. It simply means that someone is not at their home or workplace because they are eating dinner somewhere else. This could be at a restaurant, a friend's house, a hotel, or any other place that serves food.

Where Does "Out to Dinner" Come From?

The origin and history of the idiom "out to dinner" are unclear. However, one possible explanation is that "out to dinner" comes from the literal sense of being away from one's usual location to eat dinner. This could have been used as an excuse or an alibi for someone doing something else, such as having an affair, committing a crime, or avoiding responsibility.

10 Examples of "Out to Dinner" in Sentences

Here are examples of using the idiom "out to dinner" in various sentences, demonstrating different contexts and situations:

  • He's out to dinner with his new girlfriend. Good catch! I hope they have a good time.
  • It's been an hour, and Amanda is not answering her phone. Maybe she's out to dinner or something.
  • She went out to dinner with her friends last night. However, they got stuck in traffic on the way back.
  • Fret not. She’s out to dinner right now but will be back later on.
  • He wanted to surprise his girlfriend by taking her out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Way to go!
  • They decided to go out to dinner at Mickey D's instead of cooking at home since they had a long day.
  • About last night, she invited him out to dinner with her family, hoping they would like him.
  • Oh my gosh! He asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner with him, but she politely declined.
  • They enjoyed going out to dinner every weekend, trying different cuisines. They are such a dynamic duo!
  • She felt happy for going out to dinner with her ex, even though they were just friends now.

Examples of "Out to Dinner" in Pop Culture

The idiom "out to dinner" has also appeared in some popular culture. Here are some examples:

  • In the 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) and Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) meet at the top of the Empire State Building and go "out to dinner" together.
  • In the 2012 book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) takes his wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) "out to dinner" at their favorite restaurant for their fifth anniversary, unaware that she has staged her disappearance and framed him for murder.
  • In the 2015 episode "The Dinner Party" of The Vampire Diaries, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) go "out to dinner" with Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) and Andie Star (Dawn Olivieri). However, they discover that Damon has invited Elijah Mikaelson (Daniel Gillies), a powerful vampire who wants to kill them.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Out to Dinner"

There are other ways to say "out to dinner" with a similar meaning or intention.

Here are some examples:

  • Eating out
  • Dining out
  • Going for a bite
  • Treating a dinner
  • Having a meal at a restaurant

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Out to Dinner"

Here are some common questions and answers about the idiom "out to dinner":

  • What does "out to dinner" mean?

The idiom "out to dinner" can mean someone is away from their usual place to eat dinner, usually at a restaurant or someone else's house.

  • What is the origin of the phrase "out to dinner"?

The origin and history of the idiom "out to dinner" are unclear. However, one possible explanation is that "out to dinner" comes from the literal sense of being away from one's usual location to eat dinner.

  • What are some synonyms for "out to dinner"?

Some synonyms for "out to dinner" are eating out, dining out, having dinner out, or going out for dinner.

  • What are some antonyms for "out to dinner"?

Some antonyms for "out to dinner" are eating in, dining in, having dinner in, or staying in for dinner.

  • How do you use "out to dinner" in a sentence?

You can use "out to dinner" in a sentence to imply that you are going out for a dinner. It can also be used to hint that someone is inviting or paying for someone else's meal.

  • Is "out to dinner" a polite or rude expression?

It depends on how it is used and who it is directed at. If it is used literally, it is usually polite and neutral. It can also be used jokingly or affectionately among friends or family members who know each other well.

  • How do you use "out to dinner" in a sentence?

You can use "out to dinner" as a noun phrase or an adjective phrase.

  • What are some idioms related to "out to dinner"?

Some idioms related to "out to dinner" are wine and dine, have a bite, grab a bite, or break bread.

  • How popular is the expression "out to dinner"?

The idiom "out to dinner" is not very popular or common in everyday language. It is more likely to be heard or seen in informal settings, such as conversations among friends, family members, or colleagues, or in media, such as movies, TV shows, books, or songs.

  • Is there a difference between "out to dinner" and "out for dinner"?

There is little difference between "out to dinner" and "out for dinner." They both mean that someone is eating dinner outside their usual location. However, "out for dinner" may suggest that someone is going out specifically to have dinner, while "out to dinner" may imply that someone is already out and happens to have dinner.

Final Thoughts About "Out to Dinner"

The idiom "out to dinner" means someone is away from their usual place to eat dinner, usually at a restaurant or someone else's house. Depending on the speaker's context and tone, it can have a positive or negative impression.

In summary:

  • It means someone is eating dinner outside their standard location.
  • It may have originated from the literal sense of being away from one's usual location to eat dinner.
  • It has synonyms, antonyms, and related idioms with similar meanings or intentions.

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