epicure

noun
ep·​i·​cure | \ ˈe-pi-ˌkyu̇r How to pronounce epicure (audio) \

Definition of epicure

1 : one with sensitive and discriminating tastes especially in food or wine
2 archaic : one devoted to sensual pleasure : sybarite

Choose the Right Synonym for epicure

epicure, gourmet, gourmand, gastronome mean one who takes pleasure in eating and drinking. epicure implies fastidiousness and voluptuousness of taste. gourmet implies being a connoisseur in food and drink and the discriminating enjoyment of them. gourmand implies a hearty appetite for good food and drink, not without discernment, but with less than a gourmet's. gastronome implies that one has studied extensively the history and rituals of haute cuisine.

Did you know?

The word epicure is currently associated with indulging the appetite, but that is a long way from the teachings of the man to whom we owe the word. The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus taught a philosophy of simple pleasure, friendship, and a secluded life. He believed in the pursuit of pleasure, but pleasure for him comprised tranquility and freedom from pain—not the indulgence of the senses. Detractors of Epicurus in his own time and later, however, reduced his notions of pleasure to material and sensual gratification. When epicure entered English in the 16th century, it was synonymous with the modern term hedonist; later use carried the notion of refinement of palate that we see in the word today.

Did you know?

The word epicure is currently associated with indulging the appetite, but that is a long way from the teachings of the man to whom we owe the word. The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus taught a philosophy of simple pleasure, friendship, and a secluded life. He believed in the pursuit of pleasure, but pleasure for him equated with tranquility and freedom from pain—not the indulgence of the senses. However, detractors of Epicurus in his own time and later reduced his notions of pleasure to material and sensual gratification. When epicure entered English in the 16th century, the philosophy of Epicurus had been trivialized, and so the word became synonymous with “hedonist.”

Examples of epicure in a Sentence

Thomas Jefferson was one of America's first great epicures.
Recent Examples on the Web The flaneur was a familiar figure in nineteenth-century Paris: a solitary, quasi-artistic man (though not always) who strolled the streets like an urban epicure. Julian Barnes, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2022 An epicure is particular about his pleasures; a snob is particular about everyone else’s pleasures, forever lecturing others about their tastes in music, clothes, restaurants, and their general modes of life. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 10 Mar. 2022 Visitors to downtown Napa can further embrace their inner epicure at the Oxbow Public Market, a food hall included by Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds on his list of the 40 best autumn experiences in California. Los Angeles Times, 27 Jan. 2022 The Portland, Maine, seafood epicure offers a wide assortment of caviars from around the world and outstanding collections like this Royal Osetra Tasting. Megan Murphy, Robb Report, 21 Dec. 2021 Picture a plateful of flounder leaping off the dish and chomping the epicure’s nose. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Nov. 2021 We’ve been subjected to the bottom of the barrel: cheap, salty, scratchy little things that any epicure would despise. Ruth Reichl, Town & Country, 28 Feb. 2021 All kinds of scams proliferate in the truffle world’s lawless climate, fed by the appetites of epicures and consumers of culinary bling alike, and most of us are mycologically illiterate—and thus easily duped. Eugenia Bone, WSJ, 10 July 2019 Victoria has numerous tea rooms, many geared to budget-conscious epicures like us, Charlie and Jean told us. Roy Harris Jr., latimes.com, 20 May 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epicure.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of epicure

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for epicure

Epicurus

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best travel mugs.

Learn More About epicure

Time Traveler for epicure

Time Traveler

The first known use of epicure was in 1551

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About epicure

Dictionary Entries Near epicure

epic theater

epicure

epicureal

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for epicure

Cite this Entry

“Epicure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epicure. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on epicure

Nglish: Translation of epicure for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!