tooth·​some ˈtüth-səm How to pronounce toothsome (audio)
: sexually attractive
a toothsome blonde
: of palatable flavor and pleasing texture : delicious
crisp toothsome fried chicken
toothsomely adverb
toothsomeness noun

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One meaning of tooth is "a fondness or taste for something specified." Toothsome comes from this definition of tooth plus the suffix -some, meaning "characterized by." Although toothsome was at first used to describe general attractiveness, it quickly developed a second sense that was specific to the sense of taste (perhaps because from as far back as Chaucer's time, tooth could also refer specifically to eating and the sense of taste). In addition, toothsome is now showing signs of acquiring a third sense, "toothy" (as in "a toothsome grin"), but this sense is not yet established enough to qualify for dictionary entry.

Choose the Right Synonym for toothsome

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 toothsome in a Sentence

the movie star and his supermodel girlfriend are considered the most toothsome couple in Hollywood
Recent Examples on the Web His Sesame Sweet Potato and Cabbage Burger is soft yet toothsome from shredded sweet potatoes and cabbage, and spiced perfectly with a pinch of cayenne, which cuts through the hearty veggies. Ben Mims, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2023 This version was vegetarian (though it’s often punctuated with salted beef or pork), a hearty mix of potatoes, carrots, wilted spinach-esque callaloo and toothsome dumplings. Nevin Martell, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2022 All the prepared bites were quickly claimed, leaving bare a lush display of toothsome raw vegetables. Lisa Wong MacAbasco, Vogue, 8 Sep. 2022 The star red of my tasting was the 2019 vintage of this lithe, toothsome Cinsault. Lettie Teague, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2022 For her version of southern Italian anelletti al forno, Rodriguez’s pasta team braids strands of dough by hand into perfect, toothsome rings—all the better looking and for catching tiny bites of escarole and braised pork cheek. Caroline Hatchett, Robb Report, 1 July 2022 Reward yourself with a bowl of polpette (meatballs) smothered in parmesan sauce and passatelli, a toothsome local noodle speciality made from parmesan, breadcrumbs, and egg. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 Sep. 2021 Then indulge in a plat de côtes de boeuf braisés, tender braised short ribs flanked by potato mousse and drizzled with cabernet syrup, or the equally toothsome mushroom and gruyere omelet. Joanna O'Leary, Chron, 14 June 2021 Well, turns out this toothsome leafy green is also pretty good for your face. Garrett Munce, GQ, 2 Mar. 2018 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of toothsome was in 1551


Dictionary Entries Near toothsome

Cite this Entry

“Toothsome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


tooth·​some ˈtüth-səm How to pronounce toothsome (audio)
: pleasing to the taste : delicious
toothsome pies
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