Word of the Day


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relating to skilful cooking and the enjoyment of good food

Origin and usage

The adjective gastronomic comes from the same root as the noun gastronomy; both arrived in English from the French ‘gastronomie’ in the early 19th century. ‘Gastronomie’ comes from the Greek ‘gastronomia’. ‘Gastro-‘ means ‘relating to the stomach’ while the suffix ‘-nomy’ is used to indicate a specific area of knowledge.


Like many words of French origin, gastronomic has a formal flavour and indeed is labelled as formal in Macmillan Dictionary. It is relatively infrequent and collocates with nouns like speciality, delicacy and treat, as well as with delight, indulgence, and extravagance. Both the rarity of the word and the company it keeps perhaps tell you something about British attitudes to food, even in the 21st century: a word that simply means ‘relating to skilful cooking and the enjoyment of good food’ is not part of everyday discourse and does not trip easily off the tongue.


“You arouse my gastronomic juices, madame.”
(Hercule Poirot in The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie)

“Gastronomy is the intelligent knowledge of whatever concerns man’s nourishment.”
(Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin)


Related words

cordon bleu, culinary, gourmet

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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