I'm writing a piece that relates to food and eating and am looking for adjectives that describe both. I just picked up the word prandial and that piqued my interest. Are there any similar words out there?

closed as too broad by Mitch, Rory Alsop, JSBձոգչ, MetaEd, tchrist Jan 3 '14 at 3:27

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  • Which thesaurus or word list resources have you consulted thus far? – choster Dec 26 '13 at 19:14
  • None really. I scrolled through Thesaurus.com, but that wasn't helpful. Do you have recommendations for either a good thesaurus or word list resource? – user60516 Dec 26 '13 at 19:27
  • It would have been helpful if you'd added the definition of prandial to your question. – dwjohnston Aug 13 '14 at 22:54

I find I like to use the phrase 'gustatorial sensations' when I'm about to talk about food/flavors.

The vocabulary for describing food and meals is so different and small, the good basics to develop everything on top of would be the 5 tastes, sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and the excellent umami (or savoury like a good glutamate or nice red beef).

Beyond that, it's like catching lightning in a bottle to articulate one's own experience with food. I think some of the most appropriate means of describing such things tend to focus on mood and emotion/ emotional response to the food.

A good dinner and a good wine may both be described as festive. One might talk about a soup as being surprising, original, or stultifying in flavor, presentation, or composition, and in a metonymous sense, could all be extended to refer to the meal at large.

Ultimately, I don't know that there are really that many words specifically to refer to the meal and food simultaneously, but that to describe components of the meal (metonymy) will describe the meal overall by extension.

My advice is to break down every sensation of the food, texture and smell, how it looks, and it's temperature, describe the food well and it will all turn back upon to give people a sense of the meal at large.


The noun sustenance can mean

food and drink regarded as a source of strength; nourishment

However, the adjectival form, sustaining, is a form of the verb, sustain which means

strengthen or support physically or mentally

It is not limited to food and drink, but can be used in connection with them

Santa found the milk and cooking very sustaining as he worked through the night.


Mine are not $64 words, more like 64 cent words.

  • gustation: the act or faculty of tasting; the faculty of distinguishing sweet, sour, bitter, and salty properties in the mouth (sounds awful, but we derive gusto from it)
  • gustatory: concerned with tasting or the sense of taste
  • gustative (adj)
  • deglutition: the act or process of swallowing (glutton)
  • deglutitory, deglutitious (adj)
  • manducation: the act or process of chewing (mandible)
  • manducatory (adj)
  • masticate: to chew
  • mastication: biting and grinding food in your mouth so it becomes soft enough to swallow
  • sialagogue: a substance that stimulates the flow of saliva
  • sialagogic (n, adj)
  • sialorrh(o)ea: the act or process of salivation
  • eructation: the process of belching.

Huh, wish I had more.

  • The OED says that we get gusto straight from Italian rather than back-deriving it from gustation and such. That’s probably because con gusto is an musical direction meaning “with taste” or “with pleasure”. It also means those things in Spanish, too, but we allegedly take the word from the Italian not from the Spanish. It’s unclear whether that is completely true any longer; one would have to study any increased use of gusto from English-language writers who are either themselves bilingual in Spanish, or who live in bilingualish areas. – tchrist Dec 26 '13 at 19:24
  • You mean sepa: I think you’ll find that when you start a sentence with “No hay mucho que”, that a finite clause following must be in the subjunctive not the indicative. For example: “No hay mucho que se pueda hacer”. Similarly with “No hay nada que podamas hacer”. It’s just how Spanish works. – tchrist Dec 26 '13 at 20:27

A couple of terms that come to mind are:

Gastronomy - The art or science of good eating.


Epicurean - Devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, especially to the enjoyment of good food and comfort.

These two words are thrown around the culinary industry quite a bit. There is also room for some wordplay here. For example, the website www.epicurious.com puts a nice spin on epicurean and curious. I've also heard gastronomical, which is its own word, used as a combination of gastronomy and astronomical to describe large amounts of (usually good) food.

  • 1
    Please don't take this as inimical, but I'm not sure where you found that gastronomical means "large quantities of (good) food." or that it is a combination of two words. I think it is simply the adjectival form of gastronomy meaning "of or relating to gastronomy" Also I don't think astronimical is even a word. – Jim Dec 26 '13 at 22:59
  • @Jim You're correct about gastronomical being the adjective of gastronomy, which is what I meant when I wrote "its own word". Also, astronomical, according to merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astronomical, can be defined as enormously or inconceivably large or great Edit: just realized I had a typo, updating my original post now. – Dryden Long Dec 27 '13 at 0:01

Organoleptic fits in here:

being, affecting, or relating to qualities (as taste, color, odor, and feel) of a substance (as a food or drug) that stimulate the sense organs


unique organoleptic properties of gelatin


Smell is certainly one of the larger players in the organoleptic experience, but it is not the only one!


Well, if you have postprandial for one end of the day meaning “after dinner”, you have antejentacular for “before breakfast” on the other end of the day.

But don’t expect many people to know what you’re talking about in either case. They’re $64 words, especially the latter.

  • Thank you for your answer. What does $64 words mean? – user60516 Dec 26 '13 at 16:35
  • 2
    There was a game show on television called "the $64,000 question". At that time, it was a very large amount of money, so it became synonymous with "the biggest question". So, a $64 word is a big word, a very good word. – anongoodnurse Dec 26 '13 at 17:03
  • 1
    @Susan That’s excellent, Susan, and exactly right. I might also note that antejentacular is a nice word because it can satisfy one of the formal requirements of a [double-dactyl](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_dactyl(http://en.wikipedia.org/… that demand that one of the lines in the second stanza be a single word pronounced sexasyllabically. Too often those are mere adverbs, so antejentacular is a nice change of pace, what being an adjective and all. – tchrist Dec 26 '13 at 17:14

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