taste

taste n 1 Taste, flavor, savor, tang, relish, smack can all mean the property of a substance which makes it perceptible to the gustatory sense.
Taste not only is the most inclusive of these terms but it gives no suggestion of a specific character or quality
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dislike the taste of olives

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the fundamental tastes are acid, sweet, bitter, and salt

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Flavor applies to the property of a thing which is recognized by the cooperation of the olfactory and gustatory and to some extent tactile senses. The term therefore usually denotes the combination of tastes and smells perceived when eating or drinking a thing. Usually, also, it suggests the blend of tastes and odors and textures that give a substance a distinctive or peculiar character
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this peach has a particularly fine flavor

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the flavor of a fine tea has been described as "a bouquet which can be tasted"

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Savor stresses sensitiveness of palate or of nose and may refer to the odor of something cooking as well as to the flavor of something eaten
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caught the rich savor of roasting meat as they passed the window

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sipc ping slowly to enjoy the full savor of the wine

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Tang applies chiefly to a sharp penetrating savor, flavor, or odor; it usually implies a live, pungent quality
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prefer apples with a tang

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the tang of dry champagne

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the tang of a salt breeze

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Relish and smack are comparatively rare in this sense; relish (see also TASTE 2) comes close to savor and usually suggests enjoyment of the taste
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a Laplander . . . has no notion of the relish of wine— Hume

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my first endeavor must be to distinguish the true taste of fruits, refine my palate, and establish a just relish in the kind— Shaftesbury

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Smack comes close to flavor but applies usually to one that is added to or is different from the typical flavor of a substance
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ale with a burnt musty smack

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a good smack of pepper in this stew

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In extended use these words usually call up one or more suggestions from their basic senses. Taste usually denotes a strong impression or a heightened sense of the quality of something
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the book leaves a bad taste in the mouth

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the first taste of sudden death and destruction from the skies— Shirer

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Flavor implies a predominant or distinctive and pervasive quality
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imparted an unwonted lachrymose flavor to his tone— Purdy

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the passing hour's supporting joys have lost the keen-edged flavorMeredith

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flavor, in fine, is the spirit of the dramatist projected into his work— Galsworthy

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Savor differs from flavor largely in suggesting a stimulating or enlivening character or quality that, like salt, spice, or other seasoning, gives life or pungency to a thing
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an odd blend of bitter naturalism and quiet humor . . . gives it a savor quite its own— Anthony Boucher

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no one treats me like a child now, and the savor has gone out of my life— Ellis

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Tang, relish, and smack come still closer to their basic senses
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the language has a tang of Shakespeare— Gray

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Yankeeisms . . . whose salt-sea flavor has its own peculiar tang in it— J. R. Lowell

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the full flavor, the whole relish of delight— Beecher

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your lordship . . . hath yet some smack of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time— Shak.

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the Saxon names of places, with the pleasant, wholesome smack of the soil in them— Arnoldy

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2 Taste, palate, relish, gusto, zest are comparable when they mean a liking for or an enjoyment of something because of qualities that give the sense of taste a pleasurable sensation or that produce comparably pleasant mental or aesthetic impressions.
Taste (see also TASTE 1) may imply a liking that is either natural or acquired; the term is often used to designate a deep-seated or ingrained longing for something that lies behind one's predilection for it, one's bent to it, one's aptitude for it, or a predisposition to enjoy one thing more than another
{

cultivate a taste for olives

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he had no taste for the study of law

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she had a taste for melancholy—for the smell of orange rinds and wood- smoke—that was extraordinary— Cheever

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More often taste refers to a liking that is based upon an understanding of peculiar excellences, especially aesthetic excellences, and that gives one a more or less discerning appreciation of a thing's beauty or perfection (as of form, design, and color) or grace and dignity and consequently greater enjoyment of it
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a connoisseur, possessing above all things an exquisite tasteDahl

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all tastes are legitimate, and it is not necessary to account for them— Virgil Thomson

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without any technical knowledge she had acquired a good taste in music— Ellis

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In this sense taste is often so close to another sense of taste, namely, the power of dis-criminating aesthetic judgment, that the two meanings tend to overlap. In the first case, however, taste is not an abstraction but a concrete thing referable to an individual or a group of individuals
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we have our tastes in painting as in confectionery. Some of us prefer Tintoretto to Rembrandt, as we do chocolate to coconut— Brow nell

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In the latter sense taste is an abstraction used commonly without reference to individuals. In general it implies a capacity for discerning true excellence and the setting up of standards whereby all may be taught to appreciate the excellence they discern; sometimes it denotes the body of standards so set up
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you do have talent, but you're pitifully ignorant of the first principles of tasteWouk

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Palate may imply either the literal physical sensation or sense of taste
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a wine taster must have a discriminating palate

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people who considered cider was just like champagne. It was a matter of palateHilton

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or a corresponding intellectual reaction and then suggest pleasure afforded the mind
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in the midst of such beauty... one's body is all one tingling palateMuir

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had no philosophy, but things distressed his palate, and two of those things were International propaganda and the Organized State— Yeats

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Relish often suggests a more distinct or a more exciting flavor in the thing that evokes enjoyment or liking; but especially it tends to imply a keener or more personal gratification than taste
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a man of ... a quick relish for pleasure— Macaulay

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seemed to speak all his words with an immense wet-lipped relish, as though they tasted good on the tongue— Dahl

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[the artist's brain] can go further and build up, always with a passionate relish for what it is producing— Montague

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Gusto can imply either the hearty relish with which one sometimes may attack a meal, execute a piece of work, or go about the performance of an act (as a task or duty), or a quality in the thing which is executed or in the act which is performed that indicates vital or enthusiastic interest, keen delight, and intense imaginative or emotional energy in the doing of it
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ambitious politicians . . . succumbing with glee and gusto to the temptations of power— Huxley

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this dramatic sense . . . gives Rostand's characters- Cyrano at least—a gusto which is uncommon on the modern stage— T. S. Eliot

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Zest, like gusto, applies either to the spirit in which one approaches something one likes to do, make, or encounter or the quality imparted to the thing done, made, or envisioned as a result of this spirit. In contrast with gusto it suggests eagerness, avidity, or a perception of a thing's piquancy or peculiar flavor rather than a hearty appetite indicative of abounding energy
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the Elizabethan theater had its cause in an ardent zest for life and living— Arnold

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his robustiousness, his zest for malicious humor— Hervey

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Analogous words: *predilection, prepossession, partiality: appreciation, understanding, comprehension (see corresponding verbs at UNDERSTAND): inclination, disposition, predisposition (see corresponding verbs at INCLINE): *discernment, discrimination, penetration, insight, acumen
Antonyms: antipathy

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Taste — (or, more formally, gustation) is a form of direct chemoreception and is one of the traditional five senses. It refers to the ability to detect the flavor of substances such as food and poisons. In humans and many other vertebrate animals the… …   Wikipedia

  • Taste — Taste, n. 1. The act of tasting; gustation. [1913 Webster] 2. A particular sensation excited by the application of a substance to the tongue; the quality or savor of any substance as perceived by means of the tongue; flavor; as, the taste of an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Taste — Pays d’origine Cork,  Irlande Genre musical Rock Années d activité 1966 1970 2 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • taste — [tāst] vt. tasted, tasting [ME tasten < OFr taster, to handle, touch, taste < VL * tastare, prob. < * taxitare, freq. of L taxare, to feel, touch sharply, judge of, freq. of tangere: see TACT] 1. Obs. to test by touching 2. to test the… …   English World dictionary

  • Taste — belongs to our chemical sensing system, or the chemosenses. The complicated process of tasting begins when molecules released by the substances stimulate special cells in the mouth or throat. These special sensory cells transmit messages through… …   Medical dictionary

  • Taste — Datos generales Origen Irlanda Información artística Género(s) Rhythm Blues Blues Rock …   Wikipedia Español

  • taste — [n1] flavor of some quality aftertaste, aroma, bang*, bitter, drive, ginger, jolt, kick*, oomph*, palatableness, piquancy, punch*, relish, salt, sapidity, sapor, savor, savoriness, smack, sour, sting*, suggestion, sweet, tang*, wallop, zest,… …   New thesaurus

  • Taste — (t[=a]st), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Tasted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Tasting}.] [OE. tasten to feel, to taste, OF. taster, F. tater to feel, to try by the touch, to try, to taste, (assumed) LL. taxitare, fr. L. taxare to touch sharply, to estimate. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Taste — Taste, v. i. 1. To try food with the mouth; to eat or drink a little only; to try the flavor of anything; as, to taste of each kind of wine. [1913 Webster] 2. To have a smack; to excite a particular sensation, by which the specific quality or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • taste — ► NOUN 1) the sensation of flavour perceived in the mouth on contact with a substance. 2) the faculty of perceiving this. 3) a small portion of food or drink taken as a sample. 4) a brief experience of something. 5) a person s liking for… …   English terms dictionary

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