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Eatable vs. Edible — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 21, 2023
Eatable refers to food that is fit for consumption and is also palatable or tasty. Edible, on the other hand, simply means that something can be eaten without causing harm, regardless of its taste.
Eatable vs. Edible — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Eatable and Edible


Key Differences

The term Eatable is generally used to describe food that is not only safe to consume but also has a pleasing taste. For instance, a ripe apple would be considered "eatable" because it is safe to eat and has a pleasant flavor. It's a term you'd more often encounter in casual or colloquial language to describe food you actually want to eat.
Edible, however, has a broader application. It's commonly used in a scientific or legal context to describe substances that can be safely consumed by humans. Edible does not make any statement about the taste or palatability of the item. For example, edible leaves might be safe to consume but not particularly tasty.
When you use the word Eatable, you're often making a subjective judgment about the food's flavor and quality. It implies that the food not only can be eaten safely but also should be enjoyable to eat. Eatable could be used to describe a restaurant dish that you find tasty.
In contrast, Edible is a more objective term. It describes anything that can be consumed without causing harm but doesn't necessarily mean you would want to eat it. For instance, certain types of tree bark are technically "edible" but you wouldn't usually describe them as "eatable" unless you found them tasty.
Both Eatable and Edible are useful descriptors in the context of food and consumption. While both terms refer to something that can be eaten, "eatable" tends to be a more specific term, often used in everyday conversations to describe food that is both safe and tasty. "Edible" is more frequently used in a scientific or technical context to describe anything that is safe to eat, regardless of its taste.

Comparison Chart


Palatable and safe to eat
Safe to eat but not necessarily tasty


More casual or colloquial
More scientific or technical

Taste Implication

Implies tastiness
No implication about tastiness


Subjective term
Objective term

Common Usage

Everyday conversations
Scientific, legal, or technical discussions

Compare with Definitions


A subjective term based on individual taste.
What's eatable for you might not be for me.


Safe to consume but not necessarily tasty.
The leaves are edible but not very flavorful.


Often used in casual conversations.
Those cookies are definitely eatable!


Does not imply tastiness or flavor.
Not all edible plants are enjoyable to eat.


Implies palatability along with safety.
This restaurant serves eatable food.


Can refer to unconventional food sources.
In a survival scenario, certain insects are edible.


Generally denotes food quality.
The chef is known for creating eatable dishes.


Often used in a scientific or technical context.
Edible mushrooms should be identified by experts.


Food that is safe and enjoyable to eat.
The pie was not just edible, it was eatable.


An objective term based on safety.
This species of fish is edible.


Fit to be consumed as food
Eatable fruits


Fit to be eaten (often used to contrast with unpalatable or poisonous varieties)
The shrub has small edible berries


Items of food
Parcels of eatables and gifts


Items of food
Delicatessen, as the name suggests, means delicate edibles


Fit to be eaten; edible
An eatable meal.


Fit to be eaten, especially by humans
Edible roots.
An edible mushroom.


Something fit to be eaten.


Something fit to be eaten; food
Edibles such as vegetables and meat.


Eatables Food.


Capable of being eaten without harm; suitable for consumption; innocuous to humans.
Edible fruit


Able to be eaten; edible.


Capable of being eaten without disgust.
Although stale, the bread was edible.


Anything edible; food.


In which edible plants are grown for human consumption.


Capable of being eaten; fit to be eaten; proper for food; esculent; edible.


Anything edible.


Any substance that can be used as food


In particular, an edible mushroom.


Suitable for use as food


(marijuana) a foodstuff, usually a baked good, infused with tetrahydrocannabinol from cannabutter etc.


Fit to be eaten as food; eatable; esculent; as, edible fishes.


Any substance that can be used as food


Suitable for use as food

Common Curiosities

What does Eatable mean?

Eatable refers to food that is both safe to eat and palatable or tasty.

Is Eatable a formal term?

No, eatable is more commonly used in casual or colloquial contexts.

Can non-food items be Edible?

Technically, yes. Some non-food items like certain tree barks are edible.

What does Edible mean?

Edible means that something can be safely consumed, regardless of its taste.

Does Edible imply tastiness?

No, edible makes no statement about the tastiness of the food.

Is Edible a scientific term?

Edible is often used in scientific, technical, or legal contexts.

Is Edible subjective?

No, edible is an objective term that relates to the safety of consuming a substance.

Is it correct to say 'edible meal'?

Yes, but it only states that the meal is safe to eat, not necessarily that it tastes good.

Is Eatable an American term?

The term is understood in American English but is not exclusive to it.

Can Eatable be subjective?

Yes, what is eatable for one person may not be for another based on individual taste preferences.

Can I use Eatable and Edible interchangeably?

While related, they are not fully interchangeable due to the taste implication in eatable.

Is it correct to say 'eatable plants'?

It's correct if you find the plants both safe to eat and tasty.

Does Eatable imply tastiness?

Yes, eatable generally implies that the food is enjoyable to eat.

Which term is older, Eatable or Edible?

Both terms have origins going back centuries, but edible is more commonly used in formal writing.

Is Edible an international term?

Yes, edible is widely understood and used internationally.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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