From The Encyclopedia Britannica:

"Food left on plates after eating is defined as garbage (jutha) because it has been polluted by the eater’s saliva. It may be handled in the family.

Is there an English word for something that is not eatable or usable by others because it has someone's saliva on it?

  • 2
    Can you be more specific in describing the concept of jutha? Since this is not a translation site, it would be helpful to have the concept clearly described in English. Are you looking for a word that describes garbage in English (answer: garbage), or a word that describes food that has been tainted by saliva and is therefore garbage? (Since jutha appears in the English encyclopedia, I'm going to guess the answer to the latter would be jutha, since that is a very localized concept with no equivalent in English.)
    – Kosmonaut
    Feb 24, 2011 at 19:28
  • 1
    yeah i know its not a translation site but i had a hard time to explain this thing to someone who was not native speaker of my language.
    – Vivart
    Feb 24, 2011 at 19:32
  • 1
    i am trying to explain like i can't eat with same spoon that you are using because spoon is polluted by the saliva.
    – Vivart
    Feb 24, 2011 at 19:34
  • @Kosmonaut: On the rare occasion the concept is used in English, it gets used as a loanword, as we have no exact alternative.
    – Orbling
    Feb 24, 2011 at 19:35
  • 1
    @Vivart: I hope you don't mind; I have edited your question to make it on-topic for this site.
    – Kosmonaut
    Feb 24, 2011 at 19:37

3 Answers 3


I do not believe there is a single word that exactly means the same as jutha, as that concept is particular to Hinduism. We would use the word as a loanword if necessary to be specific.

However, there are several general terms for left over food from plates, as opposed to leftover food which was never served (that being called leftovers).

  • slops
  • swill (specific to food waste given to pigs)
  • scraps
  • food waste
  • remains

As an aside, whilst this concept persists as a religious observance, there is the opposite end of the scale that should be more widely known, see the Filipino slum food pagpag.

  • It all reminds me of the person who stood a notice by his beer while he left the room reading "I have spat in this". When he returned someone had written underneath - "So have I".
    – WS2
    Feb 22 at 0:08

I can't think of a specific word, but "I don't want to share your germs" is a typical way to say it. It's a tiny bit offensive for some people if they are told this, but most people understand.

There is a related phrase that is used which might be appropriate: "double dipping." This is where (for example) a person who is taking food from a shared bowl eats using a spoon and then places the same spoon back into the food for another bite (could also be a potato chip, vegetable, etc.)

  • 2
    +1 for "double dipping", the closest concept. Saying "it's like double dipping" may in fact be the best way to explain the idea to someone, as the reason is not health (germs) alone, but a combination of that, general cultural notions of yuck, and religious ideas. Feb 25, 2011 at 12:59

Is there an English word for something that is not eatable or usable by others because it has someone's saliva on it?

Not specifically, but people might say it was unhygenic (to eat someone-else's left-over food).

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