verb (used with object), tast·ed, tast·ing.

  1. to try or test the flavor or quality of (something) by taking some into the mouth: to taste food.
  2. to eat or drink a little of: She barely tasted her dinner.
  3. to eat or drink (often used in negative constructions): He hadn’t tasted food for three days.
  4. to perceive or distinguish the flavor of: to taste the wine in a sauce.
  5. to have or get experience, especially a slight experience: these young men who had only begun to taste life.
  6. to perceive in any way.
  7. Archaic. to enjoy or appreciate.
  8. Obsolete.
    1. to examine by touch; feel.
    2. to test or try.

verb (used without object), tast·ed, tast·ing.

  1. to try the flavor or quality of something.
  2. to eat or drink a little (usually followed by of): She tasted of the cake.
  3. to perceive or distinguish the flavor of anything.
  4. to have experience of something, however limited or slight.
  5. to have a particular flavor (often followed by of): The coffee tastes bitter. The bread tastes of mold.
  6. to smack or savor (usually followed by of): The story tastes of treason.


  1. the act of tasting food or drink.
  2. the sense by which the flavor or savor of things is perceived when they are brought into contact with the tongue.
  3. the sensation or quality as perceived by this sense; flavor.
  4. a small quantity tasted; a morsel, bit, or sip.
  5. a relish, liking, or partiality for something: a taste for music.
  6. the sense of what is fitting, harmonious, or beautiful; the perception and enjoyment of what constitutes excellence in the fine arts, literature, fashion, etc.
  7. the sense of what is seemly, polite, tactful, etc., to say or do in a given social situation.
  8. one’s personal attitude or reaction toward an aesthetic phenomenon or social situation, regarded as either good or bad.
  9. the ideas of aesthetic excellence or of aesthetically valid forms prevailing in a culture or personal to an individual: a sample of Victorian taste; I consulted only my own taste in decorating this room.
  10. the formal idiom preferred by a certain artist or culture; style; manner: a façade in the Baroque taste.
  11. a slight experience or a sample of something: a taste of adventure.
  12. a feeling or sensation resulting from an experience: a compromise that left a bad taste in her mouth.
  13. Obsolete. test or trial.


  1. taste blood. blood(def 24).
  2. to one’s taste, agreeable or pleasing to one: He couldn’t find any ties that were completely to his taste.


  1. the sense by which the qualities and flavour of a substance are distinguished by the taste buds
  2. the sensation experienced by means of the taste buds
  3. the act of tasting
  4. a small amount eaten, drunk, or tried on the tongue
  5. a brief experience of somethinga taste of the whip
  6. a preference or liking for something; inclinationto have a taste for danger
  7. the ability to make discerning judgments about aesthetic, artistic, and intellectual matters; discriminationto have taste
  8. judgment of aesthetic or social matters according to a generally accepted standardbad taste
  9. discretion; delicacythat remark lacks taste
  10. obsolete the act of testing


  1. to distinguish the taste of (a substance) by means of the taste buds
  2. (usually tr) to take a small amount of (a food, liquid, etc) into the mouth, esp in order to test the qualityto taste the wine
  3. (often foll by of) to have a specific flavour or tastethe tea tastes of soap; this apple tastes sour
  4. (when intr, usually foll by of) to have an experience of (something)to taste success
  5. (tr) an archaic word for enjoy
  6. (tr) obsolete to test by touching

n.c.1300, “act of tasting,” from Old French tast (Modern French tât), from taster (see taste (v.)). Meaning “faculty or sense by which flavor of a thing is discerned” is attested from late 14c. Meaning “savor, sapidity, flavor” is from late 14c. Sense of “aesthetic judgment” is first attested 1670s (cf. French goût, German geschmack, Russian vkus, etc.). Of all the five senses, ‘taste’ is the one most closely associated with fine discrimination, hence the familiar secondary uses of words for ‘taste, good taste’ with reference to aesthetic appreciation. [Buck] v.late 13c., “to touch, to handle,” from Old French taster “to taste” (13c.), earlier “to feel, touch” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *tastare, apparently an alteration of taxtare, a frequentative form of Latin taxare “evaluate, handle” (see tax). Meaning “to take a little food or drink” is from c.1300; that of “to perceive by sense of taste” is recorded from mid-14c. Of substances, “to have a certain taste or flavor,” it is attested from 1550s (replaced native smack (n.1) in this sense). For another PIE root in this sense, see gusto. The Hindus recognized six principal varieties of taste with sixty-three possible mixtures … the Greeks eight …. These included the four that are now regarded as fundamental, namely ‘sweet,’ ‘bitter,’ ‘acid,’ ‘salt.’ … The others were ‘pungent’ (Gk. drimys, Skt. katuka-), ‘astringent’ (Gk. stryphnos, Skt. kasaya-), and, for the Greeks, ‘rough, harsh’ (austeros), ‘oily, greasy’ (liparos), with the occasional addition of ‘winy’ (oinodes). [Buck] Taste buds is from 1879; also taste goblets. n.

  1. The sense that distinguishes the sweet, sour, salty, and bitter qualities of dissolved substances in contact with the taste buds on the tongue.
  2. This sense in combination with the senses of smell and touch, which together receive a sensation of a substance in the mouth.
  3. The sensation of sweet, sour, salty, or bitter qualities produced by or as if by a substance placed in the mouth.
  4. The unified sensation produced by any of these qualities plus a distinct smell and texture; flavor.


  1. To distinguish the flavor of something by taking it into the mouth.
  2. To eat or drink a small quantity of something.
  3. To distinguish flavors in the mouth.
  4. To have a distinct flavor.

see acquired taste; dose (taste) of one’s own medicine; leave a bad taste in one’s mouth; no accounting for tastes; poor taste.

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