Words can be slippery customers: They have both denotations (literal or primary meanings, often more than one) and connotations (feelings or ideas that they suggest). It’s the connotations that trip us up (or down, usually): Words that seem to be similar can have subtle shades of meaning that make them less than fully equivalent. Walk with me as I explore one word. And for goodness sake, watch your feet.
dine (verb)eat dinner.
“we dined at a restaurant”similar:
take, partake of
tuck into, devour, scoff
“Why are we here?” you might also wonder. Because this past week a fast-food company offered me the opportunity to dine with another for $11.98.
I cannot say it was a lie. It’s a big world, full of wonders, and it might be possible for two people to dine, somewhere, for $11.98 (plus taxes). But in this establishment, although it is possible to eat, consume, partake, and scoff/scarf it is not possible even to tuck into, which implies altogether more enthusiasm than is either likely or appropriate. And it certainly is not possible to dine.
I say this with confidence, even though I myself never dine. I do, for goodness sake, know what the word means.