General English


  • The blend of taste and smell sensation experienced when food and drink are placed in the mouth. Taste is a direct nervous transmission from the tongue and is the same for all humans comprising salt, sweet, sour and bitter. Smell is far more complex, involves the nose and a large area of the cerebral cortex and is to some extent culturally determined.


  • verb to add spices and seasoning in cooking to add a flavour to something


  • the way a wine tastes, or one of the ways in which a wine tastes, a complex interaction between grapes, soil, viticultural techniques and chemical processes

Origin & History of “flavour”

The form of the word flavour, and probably to some extent its meaning, owe a lot to savour. It was borrowed from Old French flaor, and originally meant ‘smell’ (the current association with ‘taste’ did not develop until the 17th century). The savour-influenced change from flaor to flavour seems to have happened somewhere in the crack between Old French and middle English: there is no evidence of a -v- spelling in Old French. The Old French word itself came from vulgar Latin *flātor ‘smell’, a derivative of Latin flātus ‘blowing, breeze, breath’ (possibly influenced by Latin foetor ‘foul smell’). Flātus in turn came from the past participle of flāre ‘blow’.