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all duck or no dinner

Of a situation, action, or effort resulting in either total success or total failure; all or nothing. We've got one last chance to secure an investor for the company, so it's all duck or no dinner with this meeting!
See also: all, dinner, duck

make a dog's dinner (of something)

To make a mess of or completely ruin something. I thought I could trust Jim to finish the business proposal, but he made a dog's dinner of the whole thing!
See also: dinner, make

rubber chicken dinner

A dinner served at a large catered event, especially a political or corporate fundraising event, in which many people must be served simultaneously and the quality of food suffers as a result. ("Rubber chicken" is sometimes hyphenated.) I'll tell you, though: more than the long hours on the road, the repetitive speeches, or the manic workload, I cannot stand the rubber chicken dinners when I'm on the campaign trail. We really wanted to throw the whole "rubber-chicken dinner" association out the window for our next charity drive, so we've partnered with a local co-op kitchen to bring fresh, home-cooked meals to the table.
See also: chicken, dinner, rubber

like a dog's dinner

1. Very messy and/or disorganized. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I really need to clean out my closet—it's starting to look like a dog's breakfast in there.
2. Of a person's attire, very showy in a way that attracts negative attention. Look at that fool, all done up like a dog's dinner. Who told him that patterned suit was a good idea?
See also: dinner, like

be done like a (dog's) dinner

To fail or lose. Primarily heard in Australia. Your team will be done like a dog's dinner if they play against the all-star team. I just finished my paper, but class starts in five minutes, and the printer isn't working, so I'm done like a dinner.
See also: dinner, done, like

a dog's breakfast

Very messy and/or disorganized. I really need to clean out my closet—it's starting to look like a dog's breakfast in there.
See also: breakfast

dinner is served

Dinner is ready. A: "All right, everybody, dinner is served." B: "Wow, this all looks delicious!"
See also: dinner, serve

done up like a dog's dinner

Of a person's attire, very showy in a way that attracts negative attention. Look at that fool, all done up like a dog's dinner. Who told him that patterned suit was a good idea?
See also: dinner, done, like, up

have (done) more (something) than (one) has had hot dinners

To have more experience at something than the person one is speaking to. Oh please, I've completed more of these reports than he's had hot dinners, so no, I'm not going to listen to any of his suggestions.
See also: dinner, have, hot, more

Dinner is served.

It is time to eat dinner. Please come to the table. (As if announced by a butler; often jocular.) Sue: Dinner is served. Mary (aside): Aren't we fancy tonight? "Dinner is served," said Bob, rather formally for a barbecue.
See also: dinner, serve

take someone out to dinner

to take someone as one's guest to a meal at a restaurant. Can I take you out to dinner sometime? We will take out the visitors to dinner tonight.
See also: dinner, out, take

done like a dinner

If you are done like a dinner in a competitive situation, your opponents defeat you completely, often in an unfair way. These laws mean that foreign competitors get done like a dinner.
See also: dinner, done, like

more something than someone has had hot dinners

If you have had or done more something than someone has had hot dinners, you have had a very large number of them or done something a very large number of times. His trainer has probably seen more fights than most men of his age have had hot dinners. She's had more boyfriends than I've had hot dinners.
See also: dinner, hot, more, something

a dog's breakfast


a dog's dinner

If you call something a dog's breakfast or a dog's dinner, you mean that it is badly organized or very untidy. He labelled the Government's plans `a complete dog's breakfast'. Now she's having to watch as those whom she grew up with in politics are in Cabinet and making a dog's breakfast of it. The whole place was a bit of a dog's dinner, really.
See also: breakfast

dressed up like a dog's dinner

If someone is dressed up like a dog's dinner, they have taken a lot of trouble to dress in their best clothes. Are you telling me that your mother is going to be dressed up like a dog's dinner tonight and every night? Note: This expression is usually used to show that you think the person looks foolish.
See also: dinner, dress, like, up

done like (a) dinner

utterly defeated or outwitted. Australian & Canadian informal
1978 C. Green The Sun Is Up I had old Splinters Maloney the fishing inspector knocking on me door wanting to see me licence. Of course I was done like a dinner.
See also: dinner, done, like

more — than someone has had hot dinners

someone's experience of a specified activity or phenomenon is vastly greater than someone else's. British informal
1998 Odds On Triplett has been second more times than he's had hot dinners, and there must be a question about his bottle, but he has two qualities that will stand him in good stead at the Olympic Club.
See also: dinner, hot, more

hand in your dinner pail

die. informal
A dinner pail was the bucket in which a workman formerly carried his dinner; compare with kick the bucket (at kick).
See also: dinner, hand

a dog's dinner (or breakfast)

a poor piece of work; a mess. British informal
The image is of a dog's meal of jumbled-up scraps.
2000 Independent He was rightly sacked because he had made such a dog's dinner of an important job.
See also: dinner

dressed (up) like a dog's dinner

wearing ridiculously smart or ostentatious clothes. British informal
See also: dinner, dress, like

a dog’s ˈbreakfast/ˈdinner

(British English, informal) a very untidy piece of work; a mess: Don’t ask Julie to help you with the decorating — she made a complete dog’s breakfast of painting the kitchen!
See also: breakfast, dinner

more .../more often than somebody has had hot ˈdinners

(informal, often humorous) used for emphasizing how much/many or how often somebody has done something: He’s won more medals than you’ve had hot dinners.She’s been to France more often than you’ve had hot dinners.
See also: dinner, hot, more, often, somebody


and dinner basket
n. the belly; the stomach. I hit him, pow, right in the breadbasket. I have a little pain in the dinner basket.

dinner basket

See also: basket, dinner

TV dinner

n. roadkill; a turkey vulture dinner. Whoops. I just made a TV dinner out of a squirrel!
See also: dinner
References in classic literature ?
For hereby Flask's dinner was badly jammed in point of time.
He might be able to join them in the evening, but certainly not to dinner.
And with these grave thoughts for grace let us sit down to dinner.
The Psychologist was the only person besides the Doctor and myself who had attended the previous dinner.
And ye'll sing us 'Over the hills and far away,' after dinner, wonna ye?
If you wish to thoroughly enjoy your dinner, take a thirty-mile country walk after breakfast and don't touch anything till you get back.
Instead, he reached down his tobacco-pouch from a shelf of the dresser, put it into his pocket and said: "I guess I can make out to be home for dinner.
Being a well-bred man he had not (like another recent ducal visitor) come to the dinner in a shooting-jacket; but his evening clothes were so shabby and baggy, and he wore them with such an air of their being homespun, that (with his stooping way of sitting, and the vast beard spreading over his shirt-front) he hardly gave the appearance of being in dinner attire.
Daddy, mummy says, do stop talking and come and eat your dinner.
But before he had finished reading, a stentorian major-domo announced that dinner was ready
These short, but clearly marked, periods of separation between the sexes were always used for an intimate postscript to what had been said at dinner, the sense of being women together coming out most strongly when the male sex was, as if by some religious rite, secluded from the female.
Persons got themselves introduced to him in order to invite him to dinner.
When we gave a dinner at home, we had gravy soup, turbot and lobster-sauce, haunch of mutton, boiled fowls and tongue, lukewarm oyster-patties and sticky curry for side-dishes; wild duck, cabinet-pudding, jelly, cream and tartlets.
It is the first dinner we give, on our return from our wedding tour" (the lady wrote); "and you will only be introduced to a few of my husband's old friends.
So the Fox invited the Stork to dinner, and for a joke put nothing before her but some soup in a very shallow dish.