In regards to food, fresh is used in a number of different ways. It can mean not stale, as in fresh bread, but it is also used in regards to meat, vegetables, or fruit. People talk about having fresh fish, but how would they say that they have un-fresh fish?

  • 1
    Fish is either fresh or stinky. :^)
    – J.R.
    Mar 26 '13 at 9:35
  • You're correct that there isn't one blanket word, but rather you may use "stale", "past it's prime", "spoiled", or even "expired" depending on the situtation. I think it's useful to first define fresh: "recently made or obtained; not canned, frozen, or otherwise preserved." To find the opposite we can flip this to "NOT recently made or obtained; canned, frozen, or otherwise preserved." We wouldn't normally say "stale fish", however we would say the fish "is past it's prime" or "has spoiled" to indicate that the fish is the opposite of fresh. Oct 21 '20 at 20:12

It really depends on how "unfresh" it is. If the fish has not been preserved, then it is simply rotten; but if it has been frozen, then it is still considered "fresh" but "frozen". Vegetables and fruits would also fall under the "old," rotten," "passed their prime" or "aged" categories; that is, unless they are canned or frozen.

  • +1 I think "frozen" might be what the OP is looking for. If a restaurant calls out "fresh" fish on their menu it is probably in contrast to "frozen" or heaven forbid, "canned", and not rotten. Another word in the "stale/rotten" category, though, is spoiled.
    – Jim
    Mar 26 '13 at 6:48

I doubt that there is such a word. However, there are many variations of calling things "not fresh" so to speak. Here is a list: old soiled musty rotting hackneyed tired However, the word @stale@ that you mentioned is, in my opinion the best word although it might contain a few grey areas

  • Some of your words are not suitable for the OP's meaning, such as "hackneyed" and "tired". Your answer, in general, could be improved with some punctuation! Mar 26 '13 at 11:07

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