I'm looking for a (preferably) one-word term to describe a meal that's filling.

  1. I'd like to avoid ambiguity with the substance put inside cakes, also called filling.
  2. Satiating appears to be too difficult a word, while also having sexual connotations.
  3. I was thinking about filler or big-dish, but they sound awkward.
  • 8
    Satiating was the first word i come to think of. I disagree on the difficulty and it's not more sexual than "satisfying". Oct 15, 2012 at 15:34
  • 10
    As any Hollywood screenwriter knows, EVERY English word can be given a sexual connotation with a little effort.
    – Jay
    Oct 15, 2012 at 15:52
  • @Jay Without a doubt. Even the word Canadian. youtube.com/watch?v=LqQCyAQBgXY&t=43
    – Kaz
    Oct 16, 2012 at 1:00
  • I think we have a winner by majority :) Thanks for all the great answers and attention. Oct 16, 2012 at 10:41

9 Answers 9


How about hearty?

b (2) : abundant, rich, or flavorful enough to satisfy the appetite

  • 1
    But your name means WHEAT bread… ☺ May 6, 2015 at 9:39

The term satisfying is often used to describe a meal that is sufficient in amount and flavor.

a satisfying meal is one that makes you feel that you have eaten well and have eaten enough


You could say something that sticks to your ribs:-

Fig. [for food] to last long and fortify one well; [for food] to sustain one even in the coldest weather.

  • I haven't heard that one in decades! My grandmother used to say it about suet dumplings. Thanks for reminding me of it. Oct 15, 2012 at 15:18

If you say, "That was a filling meal" I don't think there's any ambiguity.

While it's true that "filling" as a noun has a different meaning also related to food, the fact that in one case we're talking about a noun and in the other case about an adjective means that it is rare that a sentence using the word would be ambiguous.

Well, I suppose if someone pointed at a piece of cake and said, "That was filling", it might be unclear if he was identifying the stuff inside the cake or commenting that the cake as a whole satisfied his hunger. But in real life there would almost surely be context to clarify which he meant. As people rarely point at food and say, "That is fruit" or "That is poultry" with no one asking what it is or some other lead in, if at a dinner someone pointed at a cake and said "That is filling", I would assume that he meant that it filled him up, and not that he felt it necessary to identify it. In practice there is rarely cause to identify something as filling, we're more likely to describe it. Like, "The filling was made with whipped cream" or "Sally spent hours preparing the filling for the muffins."

If the sentence is ambiguous without context, add a couple of words to clarify. As I say, aside from the simple sentence, "That is filling", I'm hard pressed to think of an ambiguous sentence. That one could easily be resolved by adding a word or two. "That is the filling" would clearly identify it as the noun. "That cake is filling" would make it an adjective.

Not to say there might not be other words to express the meaning, as others have suggested, but I think in practice there would rarely be ambiguity.

  • Unfortunately, my use-case is not a sentence, but a single-word description of a meal; the context has to be self-evident. Oct 15, 2012 at 15:59
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    @user1071136 - This context of being a "single-word description of a meal" is itself enough to separate it from the noun under almost any circumstance. No one would describe a meal as "filling" to refer to the noun. Unless that was the only thing they ate. Now, if it was just a single-word, without the context of describing a meal, it might be confusing. But so would just about any other possible word.
    – Bobson
    Oct 15, 2012 at 22:18
  • -1 That has already been ruled out by OP in the question.
    – Kris
    Oct 16, 2012 at 5:01
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    +1; I'm glad someone refuted the O.P.'s contention that filling was a bad choice because of possible ambiguities. I don't have any data, but my gut would tell me that filling is one of the most oft-used words to describe a filling meal, or a filling dish, and shouldn't be ruled out.
    – J.R.
    Oct 16, 2012 at 8:35

Stodge is a word that is sometimes used in the UK to describe food that just fills you up.

I think the connotations of stodge though is that it is filling but has little nutritional value.

  • 1
    'Stodge' describes the food more than its effect, as in being dull and boring. Oct 15, 2012 at 14:35
  • My Dad's ex-girlfriend used to brag about her favorite restaurant. "The food's not too good, but the portions are HUGE!" Just what we need, more bad food.
    – bib
    Oct 15, 2012 at 15:26

Maybe belly-buster is what you are looking for:

-buster, comb. form

1. Forming nouns denoting a person who or thing which ‘busts’ or breaks the first element (literally or figuratively), as belly-buster, knuckle-buster, rate-buster, skull-buster, etc.

2006 P. Rusesabagina & T. Zoellner Ordinary Man i. 14 The meal served is always a belly buster.



To satisfy (an appetite) fully (The Free Dictionary)

satisfy (a desire or an appetite) to the full (Oxford Dictionaries)

As in:

This meal sated my hunger.

I hope this meal will sate my hunger.

  • AFAIK, sate is not simple English, it's not a noun, and not different from the alternatives already excepted by OP.
    – Kris
    Oct 16, 2012 at 5:00
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    sate is the verb form of satiating, which is the word for what the OP wants. Oct 16, 2012 at 9:37

What about surfeit?

Synonyms: bellyful, glut, overabundance, overflow, over-fullness, overindulgence.

  • 1
    The OP wants a word for filling rather than overfilling which is what your candidates connote. Oct 15, 2012 at 19:52

I also like the word "slake" for this purpose.

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