What would be the difference between two of them? Is the first one used at all? My teacher says I should prefer the last one to be understood and to avoid confusion.

  • 1
    I've heard of 午饭 and 中午饭, but not 中饭.
    – Joe Z.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 17:56
  • 1
    They are exact same. 中饭 only used by dialect/oral. Mar 11, 2015 at 3:33

5 Answers 5


Actually I think in northern China we never use 中饭. I come from Hebei province and I had never heard this word until I came to college in Guangzhou. It seems that 中饭 exists only in southern Chinese dialects.


中饭 and 午饭 both refer to lunch. But as the answer mentioned, they are different in the environment you use it.

午饭 is more formal than 中饭. 午饭 can be used both in spoken and written Chinese. But 中饭 is used in spoken Chinese and mostly in dialect in southern China. As I come from southern Jiangsu(江苏) province, we never say 午饭 in our conversation.

You can see more here:


Read those loudly, continually. It is better than remembering single word.






BUT, we say, 早中晚三顿饭. For example,


(I hate to tell this, but it is true.)

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. Mar 25, 2015 at 5:04
  • The question is what is the difference of the two words. The answer is the usage. How you use it with different context makes difference. There are no reasons for the usages.
    – PdotWang
    Mar 25, 2015 at 13:42

午饭 is used more in writing and formal than 中饭. Certainly you can use 中饭 in your writing and people won't get confused with which one you use.

  • 1
    What about using them in spoken language?
    – UVV
    Mar 10, 2015 at 8:03
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    @UVV Both of them are OK. Really not much difference. Use 中饭 if you want to speak LOUDLY :)
    – WangYudong
    Mar 10, 2015 at 8:06

The same meaning, all Chinese people should know the meaning of 午饭, most Chinese people should know the meaning of 中饭, so you can speak any words.

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