Dinnerware, in simplest terms, covers all the items included in a matched set of dishes at a place setting, including cups and saucers. In more expansive terms, dinnerware also includes extras such as soup bowls, ramekins and dessert plates.
The Basic Dinnerware Set
Dinnerware include the items you might find in a basic boxed set of matching dishes: dinner plates, salad plates and bowls, as well as a cup and saucer for each place setting. Some sets may include a mug instead of a cup and saucer, while large sets may also include additional pieces such as bread plates and large platters for serving, depending on the set.
Plenty of Plates
Besides the dinner plate and luncheon or salad plate, optional plates abound in some dinnerware sets. Bread and butter plates, dessert plates and a soup plate that rests beneath a soup bowl are fairly commonplace; formal add-on dinnerware sets can also include pieces such as a service plate or a cheese plate.
Bowls are key players when it comes to dinnerware sets, second only to plates. Soup and cereal bowls are frequently found in everyday dinnerware sets. Some may also include serving bowls, or serving bowls and large serving platters that can be purchased as extra items. Ramekins used for souffles or individually baked items are also considered dinnerware and are sometimes offered as additional pieces that you can buy.
Most basic dinnerware sets include at least a cup or mug per table setting. Beyond the basic cups, other dinnerware offerings may include teacups, demitasse cups -- essentially a smaller version of a coffee cup -- or even a breakfast cup which holds a larger-than-average cup of coffee.
Dinnerware: What It Isn't
Dinnerware, even though it includes cups or mugs, does not include glassware such as wine and water glasses; glassware belongs to it's own category. Flatware -- also known as cutlery or silverware -- also is not considered a part of dinnerware. Flatware, glassware and dinnerware collectively form a larger grouping, called tableware.