I'm finding it particularly hard to google this, but want to know if there's a word or expression used that describes the scenario when a person stops liking a food or drink after they have vomited after eating that particular food.

Sorry for the slightly off-putting question!

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    Taste aversion therapy attempts to condition an alcoholic to become sick when he tastes an alcoholic beverage, so that he will eventually quit drinking. Jan 24 '15 at 17:24
  • I wanted to suggest the same. Nevertheless it is not a single word. Jan 24 '15 at 17:26
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    I would probably just use "aversion". Even if there is a single word that precisely describes your scenario, it's probably too technical for 99% of your readers to understand.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 24 '15 at 19:11
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    Post-Emetic Yucky Disorder
    – Bob Stein
    Jan 25 '15 at 0:52
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    Or maybe "propulsive repulsion."
    – Sven Yargs
    Jan 27 '15 at 1:32

It has a rather generic label--a food or taste aversion--often trauma-induced, as you described (but just as often not)

AVERSION noun: a strong feeling of not liking something.

1: obsolete : the act of turning away

2 a: a feeling of repugnance toward something with a desire to avoid or turn from it (regards drunkenness with aversion)

b: a settled dislike : antipathy (expressed an aversion to parties)

c: a tendency to extinguish a behavior or to avoid a thing or situation and especially a usually pleasurable one because it is or has been associated with a noxious stimulus

3: an object of aversion (inconstancy is my aversion—Jane Austen)

Merriam-Webster online

Here’s how taste aversion works: You and your buddies go out for a few drinks. You’re young and wild and love drinks with the strong coconut flavor of Malibu Rum. Things get a little out of hand, and you spend part of the night praying to the porcelain god. You recover, and next weekend go out for drinks again. The bartender passes you your favorite drink, but this time the smell of coconut immediately makes you want to vomit. You loved Malibu for years, but now, the very thought of it makes you sick. What you’re experiencing is your brain protecting you from being poisoned. When we were primitive creatures, we weren’t sure what was safe to eat so we tested things out.

If you survived the experience, your brain had to make sure that you never ever ate that same thing again. So, if you ate something that made you feel ill, your brain decided "better safe than sorry," and conditioned you to feel sick anytime you saw, smelled or even thought about that same food.

And, here's a link, CNN International

Hold the Presses! We have a late addition:

The American psychologist Dr. John Garcia is best known for discovering exceptions to the process of learning by classical conditioning. In the mid-twentieth century, Dr. Garcia worked for a national defense lab studying the effects of radiation on the brains of laboratory animals. Dr. Garcia's rats were exposed to various sights, sounds and smells while in the radiation chambers. These rats were also given flavored water before being exposed to radiation in the chamber. Dr. Garcia noticed that the rats that that became sick from radiation would later avoid the same flavored water. He realized that these rats subconsciously associated their illness with the water even when the water was not what made them sick. The rats had developed a taste aversion to the flavored water after only one experience of sickness and nausea.

So, Taste Aversion, also became known as: The Garcia Effect

Here's to you, Papa!

And a late link from a new friend (Props!): The Garcia Effect nee Taste Aversion, applied to our furry and feathered cousins is known as Conditioned Aversion Therapy

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    Also related is poison shyness. It is a learned aversion to toxic substances but for humans, it can also include a learned aversion to distinctive foods that induce vomiting/nausea.
    – 0..
    Jan 27 '15 at 3:43
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    @ermanen - Thanks. I think I have roaches like that.
    – user98990
    Jan 27 '15 at 4:27
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    Great answer! I also thought, after reading, that Pavlovian Conditioning was a kind of fit too. Thanks for the input everyone. Jan 29 '15 at 13:18
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    +1 @Leonard Challis - good question, generated some fervid activity. Always a good sign.
    – user98990
    Jan 30 '15 at 7:32
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    Great job! To me, this is spot on. Feb 1 '15 at 20:28

With the help of a Hungarian dictionary, I found

  • surfeit (noun or verb)

E.g. from Chambers dictionary:

surfeit noun 1 (usually surfeit of something) an excess. 2 the stuffed or sickened feeling that results from any excess, especially over-eating or over-drinking. verb (surfeited, surfeiting) to indulge, especially in an excess of food or drink, until stuffed or disgusted. surfeited adj.

From Oxford English Dictionary,

3a. To suffer the effects of overindulgence in food or drink; to become nauseated, disgusted, or unwell as a result of (excessive) eating or drinking; to suffer from surfeit (surfeit n. 4). Now rare except as merged with sense 3b.

3b. To suffer from over-abundance; to become disgusted, wearied, or unwell by excess of something; to grow sick of.

And an example for 3a:

1700 J. Locke Ess. Humane Understanding (new ed.) ii. xxxiii. 223 A grown Person surfeiting with Honey, no sooner hears the Name of it, but his Phancy..carries Sickness..to his Stomach.

Some dictionaries mention that it's not used any more in this sense.

  • Thank you for answering. :-) Good word. Does it pertain to feeling that way later? Jan 27 '15 at 3:26
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    @medica Not sure to be honest, as a native speaker you're in a better position to comment on this. I know a Hungarian word which is a pretty good fit, and describes aversion of a food due to feeling sick after eating too much of it (not necessarily vomiting). I found the English surfeit using a dictionary (looked it up out of curiosity), and seemed to be close enough to be worth mentioning. I'm not going for the bounty, just trying to be helpful and generally interested in the question.
    – Szabolcs
    Jan 27 '15 at 3:32
  • @medica OK, added a hopefully useful OED excerpt. I guess it's not used in this sense any more today.
    – Szabolcs
    Jan 27 '15 at 3:38
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    This is a nice alternative answer to taste aversion but surfeit is more like eating too much, to the point of sickness and disgust. You can eat the same food later. However, surfeit might induce taste aversion.
    – 0..
    Jan 27 '15 at 3:58
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    Nice answer @Szabolcs and you had to come to it in a roundabout way, via the Hungarian. Good work.
    – user98990
    Jan 27 '15 at 5:01

After having a Bad Tequila Experience, you might find you've developed quite a sensitivity to the stuff. Some would go so far as to call it an aversion (or, exaggerating, call it an allergy), but it might just be a loathing, distaste, or dislike. And some people never learn.


One way to describe this is food phobia. You may also want to read this article on food allergy.

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    Can you support this answer with a definition? To my thinking, a phobia is a fear rather than a disgust for. Jan 27 '15 at 2:44
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    @medica: If you're thinking of "disgust" then I agree with you that "phobia" does not have anything to do with disgust. But I had thought that the asker was not talking about disgust, since that is usually not the concern, whereas there are many people who become afraid to eat more and more things just because of getting sick once or twice, which is referred to as food phobia.
    – user21820
    Jan 27 '15 at 5:29
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    @medica: You're welcome! In fact what Little Eva describes is at the mild and useful end of the spectrum, since it makes us more careful of what we eat. It is when some people over-react, for various psychological reasons, that it becomes a serious condition, but it can be solved once it is acknowledged and dealt with. What made me interpret this way was that the asker mentioned "vomiting", which can be serious enough to trigger such reactions, especially if the person feels like dying.
    – user21820
    Jan 27 '15 at 5:37

Maybe we can use gut-wrenching.

  • That is certainly descriptive! ') Jan 27 '15 at 4:42
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    Maybe we can. What does it mean, and how does it answer the question? Your answer would be stronger if you edited it to explain better, and provide a link or two to substantiate it. Check out OneLook.
    – user63230
    Jan 27 '15 at 6:06
  • According to Cambridge dictionary, 'gut wrenching' means 'making you want to vomit'. So the phrase is both literally and otherwise apt. I am not sure if it needs 'better explanation'! Jan 27 '15 at 6:14
  • @RaghuramanR - andy was very gently suggesting that you could make this answer better according to this site's expectations of answers. The site tour and the help center will give you guidance on how to use this site. Jan 27 '15 at 7:01
  • bile assisted food hatred. Feb 26 '16 at 21:02

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