I'm writing a scientific paper for my final year, on taste perception of particular compounds that come in contact with cells in the mouth. I'm looking for a word or short phrase to add to the word 'compounds' or 'substances' to indicate they are in the mouth, and have been put there/do not originate or naturally occur there. Words like 'masticated' that indicate the substance has been chewed are too specific (we don't have to chew to taste something), while to just say the substance 'in the mouth' with no further explanation is too vague. It's important to keep my writing concise and my word count is limited, which is why I'm trying so hard to find something appropriate.

I'm not very good at descriptive writing, grammar and vocabulary so any suggestions would be appreciated. I'm not sure if there's a more efficient way to look for words like this but I've tried several searches and the results are mostly unrelated, dirty or Nickleback.


11 Answers 11


I would say exogenous in-mouth substance. Exogenous meaning "originating from outside; derived externally".

  • 1
    Seems like exogenous factor is the particular phrase of choice here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exogeny (third bullet point on biology). Even if it doesn't quite work (not sure how "active" the asker's in-mouth substances are), at least it's a nice band name.
    – talrnu
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 20:48

I think in the context you describe, the term

introduced substances

is pretty unambiguous.


introduce definition 4: place, insert



From the verb to mouth

  1. a. transitive. To put or take (something, esp. food) in the mouth; to seize with the mouth; to touch (a thing) with the mouth or lips.

(Oxford English Dictionary)


  1. To take in or touch with the mouth

(American Heritage Dictionary)

If you want to refer to something still in the mouth maybe in-mouth.

  • 2
    "Mouthed" is probably technically correct but, it is commonly used in the sense of putting something in the mouth to hold it - or, absentmindedly. In other words even if the object or substance was inadvertently tasted, it seems odd to use "mouthed" for a study of taste.
    – Oldbag
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 1:09
  • 6
    In my experience, "mouthing" is what you do when you want someone to lip-read you. For instance in traffic you might exaggeratedly mouth "sor-ry" Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 13:45
  • 1
    @G.Ann-SonarSourceTeam I agree that mouthing something can refer to speaking without making actual noise. Other uses of mouthing I have seen usually have a somewhat disgusting context to them: I watched as the child mouthed the cob of corn trying to get every last kernel. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 15:55
  • Agreed @USER_8675309 Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 16:11

You could say 'gustated'.

Strictly that's either a new coinage or a very rarely used form of the word – so you'd need to define it on first use – but 'gustation' is a pretty conventional medical term for the process of tasting using the tongue, and 'gustatory' (related to taste) is a word you'd see in newspapers.

If you want to specifically mean 'put inside the mouth', and not necessarily tasted, the obvious term would just be 'ingested' (or 'orally ingested').

  • 1
    Also consider the less common gustative, as opposed to gustatory, since common uses of gustatory refer to pleasant taste experiences. I think you would have less of a job divesting gustative of its baggage. "He established that the anticipation of eating, as well as visual and gustative stimuli increase gastric acid secretion through vagal dependent pathways in dogs." books.google.com/…
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 4:29
  • 1
    I think the verb you are looking for is "degust", referring to a careful tasting of something. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:55
  • 1
    Ingest means to "take into the body by swallowing or absorbing it" Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 16:12

The general medical term would be simply "oral", but there are more specific words for specific locations in the mouth, such as:

Sublingual (under the tongue)


Sublabial (between lip and gum)


See for example Both sublingual and supralingual routes of administration are effective in long-term allergen-specific immunotherapy.

So if the compound were sucrose, you could say "oral sucrose", "sublingual sucrose", "sublabial sucrose", etc.


I'm looking for a word or short phrase to add to the word 'compounds' or 'substances' to indicate they are in the mouth, and have been put there/do not originate or naturally occur there.

Since the substances are put in the mouth for the purpose of tasting them, just call them the tasted substances (or materials or compounds).


There doesn't seem to be a particular word for this that's not associated with the rest of the chewing-swallowing process.

I think your best option might be the plain and simple "placed":

put in a particular position.

As in "placed in the mouth" to distinguish it from things that are just a part of the milieu, such as the tongue, teeth, saliva, &etc.


I suggest ' orally encompassed compound' (or, substance). This does not imply chewing, and clearly gives the location of the stimulus. (Plus, it sounds all highfalutin and scientific).

  • Or just oral? My very first thought was oralled, then I went with mouthed. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 3:31

Given that the paper is about taste perception, I would suggest that the action verb depends on the properties to perceive, for example, 'mouth palpation' for such properties as slipperiness, smoothness, and roughness (see Gibson, 1966, p.138). But, to be frank, I am not native in English and I am not sure if this is what you need.

J.J.Gibson (1966). The senses considering as perceptual systems.


Foreign substances

To indicate the substance is not something usually found in the mouth I would call it a foreign substance or foreign body.

For example the abstract might say "This study concerns the reactions of our subjects to foreign bodies introduced into the mouth".

In the introduction I would then list the foreign bodies in question and say that henceforth we're going to refer to them as sample 1, sample 2, and so forth, for the sake of brevity.


I like, "to palate," as a verb, though I failed to find any sentence on the Internet that has the exact usage.

Something palatable is either toothsome, or tolerable, depending on the context. But, "to palate," should serve in the connotation of tasting, or trying something to taste.


palate (third-person singular simple present palates, present participle palating, simple past and past participle palated)

  • (nonstandard) To relish; to find palatable.

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