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sa·​vory ˈsā-və-rē How to pronounce savory (audio)
variants or chiefly British savoury
: having savor: such as
: piquantly pleasant to the mind
a savory triumph
: morally exemplary : edifying
… scandals don't make very savory reading.Green Peyton
: pleasing to the sense of taste or smell especially by reason of effective seasoning
a savory dinner
the savory smells wafting from the kitchen
: having a spicy or salty quality without sweetness
an assortment of both sweet and savory appetizers
: being, inducing, or marked by the rich or meaty taste sensation of umami
savory flavors
savorily adverb
savoriness noun


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noun (1)

variants or chiefly British savoury
plural savories or chiefly British savouries
: a small serving of food that is spicy or salty but not sweet
Those tempted toward savories can nibble on smoked-salmon or lobster-rémoulade tea sandwiches.Andy Birsh
: the taste sensation that is produced by several amino acids and nucleotides (such as glutamate and aspartate) and has a rich or meaty flavor characteristic of cheese, cooked meat, mushrooms, soy, and ripe tomatoes : umami


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noun (2)

sa·​vo·​ry ˈsā-və-rē How to pronounce savory (audio)
plural savories
: either of two aromatic mints:
Choose the Right Synonym for savory

palatable, appetizing, savory, tasty, toothsome mean agreeable or pleasant especially to the sense of taste.

palatable often applies to something that is found to be merely agreeable.

butterflies that birds find palatable

appetizing suggests a whetting of the appetite and applies to aroma and appearance as well as taste.

appetizing hors d'oeuvres

savory applies to both taste and aroma and suggests piquancy and often spiciness.

dumplings with savory fillings

tasty implies a pronounced taste.

a tart and tasty pie

toothsome stresses the notion of agreeableness and sometimes implies tenderness or daintiness.

an enticing array of toothsome desserts

Examples of savory in a Sentence

Adjective They prepared an assortment of both sweet and savory foods. cedar is one of the most savory of all woods
Recent Examples on the Web
This dish pops with Thai flavors — taking us to that heady, bold convergence of tart, sweet, savory, salty, spicy and cool. Ellie Krieger, Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2023 The first is temporal — a gorgeous savory tomato galette meant to be enjoyed now with her salsa verde. Caron Golden, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2023 Pâté en croûte, the centuries-old French dish composed of meat terrine baked in savory pastry, was first developed out of economy as a way to preserve and use up bits of offal. New York Times, 19 Sep. 2023 Like nearly every recent food trend, cottage cheese’s virality can be traced in-part to TikTok where food creators are using it as a base for savory toasts, ice cream, and everything in between. Sam Stone, Bon Appétit, 18 Sep. 2023 Thirty minutes later, nearly every truck on the street had a line of at least a dozen people waiting to order, and by noon, some of the lines had grown to 30 or 40 people and Main Street was flooded with people walking up and down the street looking for a savory bite. Dale Ellis, Arkansas Online, 18 Sep. 2023 This bisque is creamy, savory, and yes, has bits of lobster in it. Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 18 Sep. 2023 This one is topped with glorious Cheddar-Cornmeal Biscuits, a savory blend that's a real winner. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 15 Sep. 2023 The savory topping turns pizza crust into an easy seasonal appetizer or dinner. Laura Denby, Better Homes & Gardens, 14 Sep. 2023
With the kitchen leading the way, this project has allowed Ginger Moon’s mixologists to get creative, combining new flavors, playing with the sweet and the savory. Natalie Preddie, Travel + Leisure, 15 Sep. 2023 Traditional English tea service, complete with pastries and savories, is back at Greenfield Village’s Cotswold Cottage. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 3 Aug. 2023 Down 1 Henna, for example 2 Certain sleep-lab test: Abbr. 3 Philosophical principle in some Han-dynasty texts 4 Units of electrical resistance 5 Ceremonial celebration of the savory? Aimee Lucido, The New Yorker, 28 July 2023 The Prince of Wales option includes several savories, sweets, and warm homemade scones, while the Le Petit Prince children's tea offers kid-friendly snacks. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 11 June 2023 In addition to takeaway, dine in at the chef’s counter for a menu of signature tastings, five sweet and one savory, served with champagne. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Apples and raisins provide the sweet, while sauteed onions give you the savory. USA TODAY, 6 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'savory.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (2)

Middle English saverey

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (1)

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of savory was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near savory

Cite this Entry

“Savory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
sa·​vory ˈsāv-(ə-)rē How to pronounce savory (audio)
: pleasing to the taste or smell
savoriness noun


2 of 2 noun
plural savories
: either of two European mints with leaves used in cooking as seasonings

More from Merriam-Webster on savory

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