Adjective > Palatable

Adjective – Palatable

The palate is the roof of the mouth, or the sense of taste.

So, something palatable tastes okay (or even good) to the person who’s eating or drinking it.

And, your palate for something can also be your “taste” for it: your liking for it, or your preference for it. “After reading way too many of those Nicholas Sparks books, I lost my palate for them.”

Speaking figuratively, then, something palatable seems okay (or even good) to the person who’s experiencing it. “If I’m in a lazy, dreamy mood, then I might find Nicholas Sparks books palatable.”

PAL it uh bull

Part of speech:
Adjective: “the show Peppa Pig is palatable only to toddlers,” “she needed to make herself more palatable to older voters.”

Other forms worth knowing:
palatableness, or, my preference: palatability;
unpalatable; unpalatably; unpalatability

How to use it:
It’s not exactly a compliment to say that something is palatable: it means that it’s good enough, it’s acceptable, it’s alright, it’s just okay, it’ll do, we can deal with it. If something is palatable, then it meets the bare minimum of whatever standards we’ve set.

You talk about things (or even people) being palatable to whoever has to deal with them or experience them.

For example, the price of a product has to be palatable to the consumers, and so does the product’s name, or else they won’t buy it. A certain process or method has to be palatable to the people using it, or else they won’t use it. A certain idea or issue has to be palatable to the people it affects, or else they won’t face it or talk about it. And a video clip or a television show has to be palatable to the viewers, or else they won’t watch it. As Steve Stockman says in How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck, “the opposite of ‘good’ is ‘off.'”

Stockman’s quip notwithstanding, palatability is often a matter of degree, and so we often talk about making or rendering something more palatable; or about helping some product, message, action, or decision seem more palatable to people, etc. And we often talk about tastes, needs, goals, changes, preferences, and situations that render things less palatable.

Now, if you’re extra-picky about words, then you’ll avoid saying that something “looks,” “sounds,” or “feels” palatable, since palatable things appeal to the mind’s sense of taste rather than its sight, hearing, or sense of touch. Stick with the word “seems” instead, which covers all the senses–or, avoid the issue altogether by rewording. That is, instead of saying “His comedy routine sounds palatable after a few drinks,” say “His comedy routine seems palatable after a few drinks” or “A few drinks render his comedy routine palatable.”

“The trailers for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel seem a lot more palatable than those for the first reboot. This new trailer makes it seem like a somewhat self-aware and goofy if still often facepalm-worthy romp.”
— Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, 6 May 2016

“The first ingredient in this [meatless nugget] product is something called ‘mycoprotein,’ which is a more palatable moniker for ‘fungal protein.'”
— Emily Heil, The Washington Post, 28 October 2019