Stuff You Should Know About

12 of the Most Annoying Food Words

Our dependence on food both as necessity and for pleasure means our reactions to food adjectives can be very strong. Sometimes, when writers reach for the word that adequately describes the moment, they fall short, landing in a thorny nest of jargon or falling back on the easy and the meaningless.

None of us are perfect, and improving as a writer is a journey, not a destination. I have been guilty of a few of these word crimes myself over the years. As a writing community, we can all get better together.

Here are a dozen that can really just rub people the wrong way or don’t say much about the subject matter. As always, feel free to leave your own perspective in the comments below.

12. Delicious: It says absolutely nothing about food other than that the writer enjoyed it. It’s not a visceral, evocative description. Was the food chewy, salty, soft or spicy? These are the kinds of words that tell people what they want to know. Using “delicious” is a lazy catch-all. “Stellar” and “tasty” are close relatives (and I’m still having trouble avoiding those two).

11. Scrumptious: Similar to “delicious” except with a marketing-speak twist. What does this even mean? It may have evolved from the word “sumptuous,” an evocative term that means “lavish.” “Scrumpy” is a kind of potent cider made in small batches. We propose less “scrumptious” and more “scrumpy.”

10. Yummy: Similar to “delicious” except it also makes you sound like a five-year-old who just scored a candy bar. However, it’s acceptable when describing anything that comes with a cute character on the package.


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Phaedra Cook
Contact: Phaedra Cook