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I recently got into an oddly heated discussion about whether a specific style of facial hair around a man's mouth is called

Flavor saver, as in "saving the flavor for later"


Flavor savor, as in "enjoying the flavor over time"

Urban dictionary has both spellings. Is there a definitive answer out there? Are both really correct?

Or is it, as someone else suggested, neither of these. Rather, it's flava sava and the ambiguity "makes it more delicious." (Although when I looked up Flava Sava, I got Flavr Savr, which is apparently a breed of tomato.)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Here are my two little coins:

v. savor (savour)
1 to enjoy an experience, activity, or feeling as much as you can and for as long as you can
Bill savoured the view as he cruised along the coastline.

2 to enjoy the flavour of something as much as you can by eating or drinking it slowly
I sipped my coffee, savouring every mouthful.

could be used, however it is a verb and the noun is defined as

n. savor
1 a flavor or smell, especially a pleasant one
2 mainly literary enjoyment and excitement

therefore I think the phrase

flavor savor

is definitively out of the question.

There is

flavor savorer

which looses the rhyme, but is semantically more correct.

In my opinion

flavor saver

can work, but saving and saving for later enjoyment are not the same phrases and to me saving has a connotation of economizing, which takes away from the intended meaning of something that increases the pleasure.

In this respect I would go for flavor savorer.

However, both are neologisms (searching ngrams yields nothing and regular google searches yield 3M for saver, 2M for savor and 20k for savorer) and you can hardly have a winning, final argument in favor of one or the other.

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As you say, the reason you don't get any hits in NGrams is because both are neologisms (NGrams doesn't yet index much from the last decade or two). But you wouldn't find them even if they were long-established and widely-used - just as you won't find either of those words (NGrams doesn't index hyphens). – FumbleFingers May 25 '11 at 16:29
@FumbleFingers, if you examine ngrams.googlelabs.com/… and follow through on one of the links below you will find that in google.com/… you will find books that mention both 'long established' and 'long-established'. Fact that ngrams do not index hyphens means that it will not distingish between the two (which is irrelevant for the search and my point). – Unreason May 25 '11 at 17:16
oic. It seems NGrams treats hyphen as equivalent to <space> when indexing, and only really screws up if you put it in your search term. Thanks for giving me a clearer understanding. – FumbleFingers May 25 '11 at 17:29
I really liked your explanation, and I agree that flavor savorer would make the most sense contextually. That part about the connotations being different (economy v. delayed pleasure) was really brilliant. I would have taken both if I could. – Kit Z. Fox May 31 '11 at 0:55

I don't see that savour (or savor) has a particular over time suggestion and certainly not later, but the implication about facial hair capturing flavours clearly does, so I would go with "flavour saver".

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As a Vandyke-wearin' mofo, I can certainly relate to terms such as "cookie duster", "soup strainer", etc. This question was the first time I'd heard "flavor saver", but I think I'll be using it myself! – MT_Head May 18 '11 at 1:54
re over time: savor v. to enjoy an experience, activity, or feeling as much as you can and for as long as you can (from macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/savor#savor_4) – Unreason May 25 '11 at 17:10
@Unreason, I think the implication there is that you will enjoy it, starting now, and continuing for a long time. Whereas "saver" implies you're enjoying it now but then you're going to stop, save it for later, and then start enjoying it again later. – MatrixFrog May 28 '11 at 7:28

I know that Ziploc sometimes refers to their bags as Flavor Savers, and I believe they coined the term. So I think it is meant in the sense that it preserves the flavor.


Also, the facial hair in question is known to catch debris from falling food that missed the mouth. And people commonly remark that the person is "saving it for later".

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A competing storage container brand currently makes the Sterilite Flavor Saver. I don't know if they coined the name, or how long they've been making it, but I can't find a current Ziploc product with the name. – aedia λ May 25 '11 at 19:51
@aedia They may not have coined it, or even used it first, but I remember a commercial for their bags (or other plastic storage) containing the phrase. – MikeVaughan May 27 '11 at 13:56
As a kid, if I left food on my face, my father would often ask if I was "saving that for Ron". Took me a while to realise he meant "later-ron" (later on). I always thought he meant for me to give to his mate Ronald. – Matthew Schinckel May 29 '11 at 1:43
  • Savor when used as a verb has the following definition:

[ trans. ] taste (good food or drink) and enjoy it completely : gourmets will want to savor our game specialties.
• figurative enjoy or appreciate (something pleasant) completely, esp. by dwelling on it : I wanted to savor every moment.

One might argue that a beard enhances the possibility of flavor savoring, but the question is not "what does my beard allow me to do more fully" but rather "what is my beard called"?

  • Savor (or savour) when used as a noun has the following definition:

a characteristic taste, flavor, or smell, esp. a pleasant one : the subtle savor of wood smoke.
• a suggestion or trace, esp. of something bad

My beard is not a savor in and of itself but rather contains flavors (to be enjoyed at a future moment). And to use flavor savor in that respect would be redundant and unhelpful.

  • Saver, on the other hand, is a noun indicating something that saves. This makes perfect sense and is quite likely derived from the phrase I often hear when someone notices a tasty bit of chicken hanging off my scruffy chin:

Are you saving that for later?

And my response is:

Of course! It is, after all, my flavor saver.

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This was a tough choice between you and @Unreason. I think both of you really nailed it by pointing out the difference between savor as a verb and savor as a noun. – Kit Z. Fox May 31 '11 at 0:53
@Kit, well I appreciate your kindness in selecting myself. – snumpy May 31 '11 at 13:05

Both terms mean different things:

In "flavour savour", "savour" is to 'enjoy by tasting'.

In "flavour saver", it is obvious, that the beard is saving the taste.

"Flavour savour" can't be used on a beard, because we can't savour with our beards or goatees. There is no savouring taste buds available.

Also, as this saying is used to imply that a man's beard will have particles of substance sticking to it so that it exudes odours, the beard will save the flavour of whatever his mouth has been in contact with.

Therefore, you would use:

Flavour Saver

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