Which word can describe a product or dish which is so sweet that it is almost impossible to eat or to enjoy it? For example "this jam is ___ , i can't even eat it".

I found "sugary" and "honeyed" (linked in the "sugary" entry) but I think they are rather postive than negative.

  • 1
    Please edit your question to include two things so that it can be reopened. First, please include a couple possible sentences illustrating how you would use this term, leaving a blank ________ where it would go. Second, please present your research into this by showing us which possible terms you discovered but discarded, and tell us why you found each of those inappropriate for your purposes. I encourage you to take our tour.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 19:57
  • 4
    cloying , but the Q is closed and not accepting answers... Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 21:44
  • @jsw29 Thanks for being considerate. I won't forget that... Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 19:52

5 Answers 5



Excessively sweet, rich, or sentimental, especially to a disgusting or sickening degree.


...as in "This jam is cloyingly sweet."

The word can also be used to describe perfumes, overly-sentimental movies, etc.

The usage goes back to at least the Elizabethan times

We sicken to shun sickness when we purge,
Even so, being full of your ne'er cloying sweetness,
To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding...

William Shakespeare


Although other senses get in the way, one near-literal sense of saccharine fits:

saccharine [adjective]

2: overly or sickishly sweet

  • [a] saccharine flavor


The default use of the adjective is the metaphorical sense, putting on a pretence of friendliness. The sickly-sweet flavour sense would probably be mainly found in literature, and not in a predicative usage.

"This dessert is/tastes saccharine" isn't idiomatic.



Excessively or unpleasantly sweet.

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    Just what I was about to put down.
    – Elliot
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 1:27

Sugary: may convey the idea of something that is too sweet.

Sugary food or drink contains a lot of sugar.

  • Sugary canned drinks rot your teeth.

(Collins dictionary)

exaggeratedly sweet

cloyingly sweet


  • Would "sugary song/movie" have a negative or a positive assessment?
    – Drossel
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 12:11
  • @Drossel - a negative one. Unless you like movies/songs that are too sentimental.
    – user 66974
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 12:13
  • @Drossel - if you click on the M-W link you will see that the definition is “cloyingly sweet.”
    – user 66974
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 12:27
  • Sugary just doesn’t have any negative implications for me. “Sugary treats” sound great. In fact you can find people with businesses named “Sugary treats” I also don’t think the M-W dictionary defs reflect the true usage of the word. If there’s too much sugar then it’s too sugary not just sugary.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 22:00
  • The jam is "too" sweet to eat.

I think it conveys the desired effect ."–too...to "construction.

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