Eat Your Words

We’ve all been advised to not talk with our mouths full. It makes you wonder why there are so many words related to hunger and the act of eating. Whether you are feasting or on a diet, here is some essential eating vocabulary.

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A Cornucopia of Words: Thanksgiving Lingo is Food for Thought

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. esurient
    extremely hungry
    The deli is frequented by young, single professionals, esurient after those long hours spent staring at the monitor of a computer.
  2. craving
    an intense desire for some particular thing
    Doughnuts tend to be on the smaller side, so consider doubling your order if your cravings are particularly strong.Washington Post (Oct 6, 2017)
  3. savor
    taste appreciatively
    I bulldozed through two bones, savoring their salt and spice, before realizing I hadn’t even dabbed one in the mint chutney yet.Washington Post (Oct 30, 2017)
  4. ravenous
    devouring or craving food in great quantities
    Appeasing a ravenous appetite at the mall food court could cause you to eat as much or even more calories than you burned shopping.US News (Dec 2, 2015)
    Ravenous has nothing to do with being hungry like a raven. It’s from Old French raviner “to seize”. The Old French word also gives us ravine through the sense the of a violent rush of water swallowing everything in its path.
  5. famished
    extremely hungry
    I'm famished so I buy a plate of each and move to one of the tables in the centre of the room to eat.BBC (Jul 3, 2016)
  6. feast
    a ceremonial dinner party for many people
    Where new owner Esther Lee reopened her spare Italian dining room after a July fire and still offers a fixed-price, five-course Italian feast.Washington Post (Oct 12, 2017)
  7. gluttony
    eating to excess
    If heavy eating is something you're unwilling to give up, make sure to devote time earlier in the day to gluttony.US News (Jun 1, 2016)
    From Latin gluttire, to swallow , and from gula, throat, which also gives English the word gullet.
  8. indulgence
    the act of gratifying a desire
    Ruby chocolate “satisfies a new consumer need found among millennials — hedonistic indulgence,” it said, in a quote attributed to Mr. Boone.New York Times (Sep 7, 2017)
  9. devour
    eat greedily
    As he spoke, his children — pale and undernourished — devoured a humble meal of chicken and bread.New York Times (Oct 17, 2017)
    From Latin devorare which breaks down to de, down, and vorare, to swallow. Vorare also figures in the history of other great food words like voracious, extremely hungry.
  10. consume
    take in as food
    Most Americans consume too much salt — or, more accurately, sodium.Washington Post (Nov 3, 2017)
  11. appetite
    a feeling of craving something
    He slowly regained his appetite after being hand-fed anchovies, shrimp and squid.Seattle Times (Sep 29, 2017)
  12. repast
    the food served and eaten at one time
    If it’s impossible to eat mindfully every day, consider planning one special repast a week.New York Times (Feb 7, 2012)
    From Late Latin repastus, a meal, ultimately from Latin pascere, to graze.
  13. cuisine
    the manner of preparing food or the food so prepared
    The shelves are filled with staples of Asian cuisine: bamboo shoots, noodles, vegetable greens like gai choy, and rice — lots of rice.Seattle Times (Nov 5, 2017)
  14. culinary
    of or relating to or used in cooking
    Bandhu Gardens, as the women’s culinary collective is called, started by selling surplus backyard produce to local restaurants and farmer’s markets.Seattle Times (Oct 28, 2017)
  15. morsel
    a small amount of solid food; a mouthful
    It’s hard counting calories and watching every morsel you put in your mouth.New York Times (Aug 5, 2017)
    From Latin mordere , to bite. This root is also present in the history of words that refer to metaphorical biting, adjectives that describe “a sharp wit” or a “sharp tongue” like English mordant.
  16. voracious
    devouring or craving food in great quantities
    Baby tortoises are voracious, grow fast and start digging burrows almost immediately.Los Angeles Times (Mar 10, 2017)

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