Is there a single word to refer to a food item which has been partially eaten or tasted by someone?

To elaborate, let's say there is a bowl of noodles on the table, and someone took a spoon of noodles from that bowl. Someone else comes along and wants to take that bowl.

How do you tell him that the bowl has been tasted by someone else? Is it simply This is used like we refer to other objects?

  • So I'm guessing you mean the food in a dish that someone else has -not- eaten? If it has been partially eaten, the part the has been eaten already ain't food anymore.
    – Mitch
    Dec 12, 2011 at 17:54
  • 2
    Yes, "the food in a dish that someone else has not eaten".
    – Incognito
    Dec 12, 2011 at 17:56
  • Can you clarify whether the person ate directly out of the bowl, or whether they put it into a separate dish first?
    – jprete
    Dec 13, 2011 at 4:02
  • Mmm... like the iWhatever apple? Dec 13, 2011 at 8:27
  • @jprete The person ate directly from the bowl.
    – Incognito
    Dec 13, 2011 at 10:48

5 Answers 5


If the other person took a taste to claim the food, you could say This is taken.

  • Thanks, this is a possible answer and is helpful. I can't vote up due to reputation points.
    – Incognito
    Dec 12, 2011 at 18:03
  • Yes, and I did vote up :)
    – Incognito
    Dec 12, 2011 at 18:07

You might consider using leftover.

  • 1
    Absolutely. Once a week my housemate and I have a "leftovers night". He's a chef, so he makes a pretty good job of this not being too obvious when you look at your plate - and it certainly helps keep control the "fridge lurkers". Dec 12, 2011 at 19:01
  • 4
    I don't like this one very much. Those of us who are germophobic would say that these aren't leftovers at all! If I were the one who was being told about this, I would want to hear a word that provides the connotation that this is food that someone else ate from, as opposed to just being food that nobody took from the pot.
    – jprete
    Dec 12, 2011 at 19:38
  • 1
    I thought over it and I agree with jprete. Leftover can also mean that "this is leftover from yesterday". Also, I feel that "leftover" is referring more to the "freshness aspect of the food" rather than indicating that someone has tasted it.
    – Incognito
    Dec 13, 2011 at 10:53

Also leavings, and scraps.

  • Thanks, this is also a possible answer and is helpful. I can't vote up due to reputation points.
    – Incognito
    Dec 12, 2011 at 18:04
  • 1
    If the uneaten food remains in a communal serving dish put on the table, I call it leftovers. It's a house rule where I live that all such must eventually end up in a future meal. If it's on someone's personal plate, that person is severely castigated for waste, and the scraps go into the compost bin. Everyone's mouth contains all sorts of bugs that will easily transfer via cutlery to the uneaten food - basically, if you're not on kissing terms with your co-diner, you don't want their scraps or leavings. Dec 12, 2011 at 22:42

No terse way to say this in English that I know of.

There is a Seinfeld episode where Costanza is at a funeral and dips the same chip into a bowl of dip twice, and get's caught out and accused of "double dipping". It is not the same thing, but points up the limitation of english for the ability to describe this notion of "contamination" (state change) of a shared dish, because the point of the question here is not that someone has "taken a share from a shared bowl" but that they have "eaten from a shared bowl", and having done so, made the shared bowl their own bowl.

So, the name for the bowl at that point is theirs.

  • 2
    +1 for raising the question that the food source in question may or may not be shared. The connotation of the adjective the asker seeks could be very different depending on cultural context. Dec 12, 2011 at 22:21
  • Agreed. My answer makes a cultural assumption that the bowl has changed to state to "belong" to someone specific. The asker is more neutral about that status - the analogy to "this is used" seems to suggest that it is "no longer available for use", but perhaps they are looking for something more neutral than that - for example, "you may not want to eat from this because someone else did, but then again, maybe you do".
    – Rob Reuss
    Dec 12, 2011 at 22:58

I'd say:

This has been started on.

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