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"Taste" - The Definition


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In my usual curious mode, I Googled the word "taste," wanting to know exactly, precisely what it meant.

On Wikipedia, I found the following as the first sentence which took me aback:


"Taste (also called smatch or gustation; adjectival form: gustatory) is one of the traditional five senses."


Smatch? I'd never heard of this word, and when I Google it, I don't find much. Really? Smatch? What is it?

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From the Oxford English Dictionary:

smatch, n.1

Forms: ME smecch, ME smech; ME, 15–16 smach, ME–15 smache, smatche, 15– smatch.

Etymology: Middle English smech , smach , apparently an alteration of Old Englishsmæc smack n.1, under the influence of smatch v.

Taste, smack, flavour; †also, the sense of taste.

smatch, v

Forms: α. OE smeccan, ME smecchen, smechen; pa. tense smeihte, pa. pple. i-smeiht, i-smecched... (Show More)

Etymology: Old English (ge)smeccan and smæccan , < smæc smack n.1 Compare Old Frisian smekka , smetsa (West Frisian smeitsje ), Middle Low German and Low Germansmecken , Old High German smecchen (German schmecken ). Finally supplanted by the later smack v.1

It's new to me! At least one of the OED entries is marked obselete--on top of which, the most recent citation for the non-obsolete entry is 1892. So I think time of death can probably be called on this one ...

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