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 '11 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 '11 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 '11 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 '11 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 '11 at 19:37

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.


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.) [ see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J3w4cS2MvM ]

  • 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. – ShreevatsaR Feb 25 '11 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).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.