If I say “I prefer my steak/burger to have a bite to it”, I’m referring to it having enough thickness or density. Is this a proper usage of the word “bite”? My wife says she’s always heard the word used this way too. I looked at several websites for definitions/uses of the word, and found nothing like the usage I’m thinking of.

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    bite in such contexts could mean EITHER "piquant" (as in contains chilli) OR "having a texture that you can get your teeth into" ("coarse" sausage with "chewy" bits, as opposed to a sausage made with smooth "mechanically-recovered meat" that's been pulverised to a slushy paste before being dried a bit and extruded into sausage skins). Nov 21, 2021 at 17:36
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    ...but I don't think many people would use "bite" in relation to a steak with the "texture" sense, even though I've heard lots of people say things like Fillet steak is okay, but I'd rather have a rump steak that I can really get my teeth into (rump steak usually being much "tougher" than fillet steak, as well as possibly "tastier"). Nov 21, 2021 at 17:42
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    'This storecupboard relish has all the flavours of a classic cooked chutney but with more bite.' [BBC Good Food] I'd assume more piquancy. Nov 21, 2021 at 18:00
  • Something that has bite to it is not generally associated with food! So, it could be used as a joke. A speech, presentation, article, can have bite to it. Comments can have bite to them.
    – Lambie
    Nov 21, 2021 at 20:32
  • youtu.be/pJaVvE1s_yw
    – nnnnnn
    Nov 22, 2021 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


al dente

...would seem to cover that concept, but I have usually heard it in reference to pasta.

In my family, al dente means it is "toothy", or semi-resistant to the bite.

mouth feel

can include texture, etc

As the butcher's boy, it sounds like tough v soft. As the physical science teacher, it sounds like a conflation of metrics.

  • "Al dente" really refers to the effect of restricted cooking leaving the item slightly resistant to the pressure of the teeth, in some people's opinion "a bit raw". It is often applied to vegetables and to pasta but not, in my experience, to meat. The equivalent for steak is "rare" but then steak gets tougher the more it's cooked whereas vegetables and pasta get softer.
    – BoldBen
    Nov 22, 2021 at 2:10
  • @BoldBen I actually agree completely...hence the caveat. I think 'mouth feel', while broad, covers it better. Nov 22, 2021 at 17:21

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