v. tast·ed, tast·ing, tastes
1. To distinguish the flavor of by taking into the mouth.
2. To eat or drink a small quantity of.
3. To partake of, especially for the first time; experience: prisoners finally tasting freedom.
4. Archaic To appreciate or enjoy.
1. To distinguish flavors in the mouth.
2. To have a distinct flavor: The stew tastes salty.
3. To eat or drink a small amount.
4. To have experience or enjoyment; partake: tasted of the life of the very rich.
a. The sense that distinguishes the sweet, sour, salty, and bitter qualities of dissolved substances in contact with the taste buds on the tongue.
b. This sense in combination with the senses of smell and touch, which together receive a sensation of a substance in the mouth.
a. The sensation of sweet, sour, salty, or bitter qualities produced by a substance placed in the mouth.
b. The unified sensation produced by any of these qualities plus a distinct smell and texture; flavor.
c. A distinctive perception as if by the sense of taste: an experience that left a bad taste in my mouth.
3. The act of tasting.
4. A small quantity eaten or tasted.
5. A limited or first experience; a sample: "Thousands entered the war, got just a taste of it, and then stepped out" (Mark Twain).
6. A personal preference or liking: a taste for adventure; a play that was not to my taste.
7. The ability to recognize and appreciate what is beautiful, excellent, or appropriate: has good taste in clothes.
8. The sense of what is proper, seemly, or least likely to give offense in a given social situation: a remark made in bad taste.
9. Obsolete The act of testing; trial.
[Middle English tasten, to touch, taste, from Old French taster, from Vulgar Latin *tastāre, probably alteration of Latin *taxāre, probably frequentative of tangere, to touch; see tag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.