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eat +‎ -able (able, capable)


eatable (comparative more eatable, superlative most eatable)

  1. Able to be eaten; edible.
    • 1847, Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Chapter XIII
      The contents of the pan began to boil, and he turned to plunge his hand into the bowl; I conjectured that this preparation was probably for our supper, and, being hungry, I resolved it should be eatable;
    • 1891, Alfred Russel Wallace, Natural selection and tropical nature[1], page 399:
      When the seeds are larger, softer, and more eatable, they are protected by an excessively hard and stony covering, as in the plum and peach tribe ; or they are enclosed in a tough horny core, as with crabs and apples.
    • 1911, Baboon, article in Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition,
      Their diet includes practically everything eatable they can capture or kill.

Usage notes[edit]

Rather informal, due to simple analysis as eat + -able. edible is the usual term, and much more frequent – eatable may be considered as an error – while comestible is relatively formal.

More narrowly, used to mean “food that can be eaten, but is not of very high quality”.



Coordinate terms[edit]



eatable (plural eatables)

  1. (chiefly in the plural) Anything edible; food.