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Adjectives That Can Describe Both Taste and Personality

Adjectives That Can Describe Both Taste and Personality

You may be surprised to learn that the same words can be used to talk about both food and people. However, as you'll see in this article, there are quite a few that can!

While most of these words are useful when discussing personalities, a few of them are used to describe body types instead. When you read the explanations, the reasons why they are used this way should be easy to understand. Let's dig in!*

*"Dig in" is an idiom that means to eat with enthusiasm.


Most English learners will know this adjective, which is used to describe something with a lot of sugar, such as candy or soda.

This cake is too sweet for me.
I only drink sweet wine once in a while.

When talking about someone's personality, however, the meaning becomes "gentle" or "caring."

Jenny is such a sweet lady. She checks on the elderly people in her neighborhood all of the time.
She was very sweet to me when I needed help.


"Bitter" is very different from sweet since it describes a strong, sharp taste. Some types of chocolate and fruits like oranges can be described as bitter. 

This coffee is quite bitter.

For personalities, bitter describes a person who is angry or upset because they feel they have been treated unfairly. It can also refer to someone who has a generally negative attitude about life or particular situations.

Even though she was very successful, she was also very bitter and couldn't stop focusing on negative things.


Foods described as "dry" usually do not have much moisture (water, milk, etc.). When talking about alcohol, it means the drink is not sweet.

Every time my dad barbecues, he overcooks the meat and it gets dry.
I'm looking for a bottle of dry red wine.

If dry is used to describe a personality, it can mean the person is not very warm or does not share or understand the feelings of others. It could also mean simply "uninteresting."

He has a pretty dry personality; he never shows what's on his mind.

You can also say that someone has a dry sense of humor, which means they are very sarcastic or use irony often. This nuance is not as negative as the one above.

She's got a very dry sense of humor, so it can be difficult to tell when she's joking sometimes.


It shouldn't be difficult to imagine what this means when talking about food; something "salty" has a lot of salt!

Mom, the fish is too salty today.

Salty can also be used as slang to describe a person who is angry. This usage is almost the same as "bitter," though it is more casual.

He's salty because he lost the match.
She got really salty because her boss asked her to come to the office on her day off.


A girl and boy reacting to eating a very sour lemon

Food is sour when it has the taste of acid, similar to lemon juice, for example. You can also use it to describe some foods and drinks, such as milk, when they are no longer fresh.

I put too much lemon in my drink and now it's too sour.

When describing personalities, someone who is sour is not friendly or cheerful.

Our boss is in a sour mood today. I would wait until later to speak with her.
He's a movie critic and is famous for his sour attitude and strict reviews.


It's not only for ice cream! When talking about people, products and much more, something is "vanilla" if it's ordinary and doesn't have any unique features or characteristics to make it stand out. Things described as vanilla are not good or bad; instead, they are simply average and not very special.

John is a nice guy, but he's a bit vanilla; he doesn't take many risks or try anything new.
Mary's presentation was professional and organized, but it was also too vanilla. She didn't add any unique or interesting ideas to the discussion.


You probably know that if someone is rich, they have a lot of money or valuable things.

My aunt and uncle are really rich. They're always taking expensive trips.

However, when describing taste, it means that a food or drink has a lot of fat, butter or other such ingredients. Rich foods often make people feel full quickly.

This ice cream has a rich chocolate flavor.


You can use "fiery" to describe foods that are very spicy. 

This Indian curry has the perfect balance of fiery spices and rich flavors.

A fiery personality can mean that a person is very enthusiastic, very confident or experiences big, dramatic changes in their emotions.

Sarah is a fiery politician who always speaks her mind and stands up for what she believes in.


Something that is "fishy" smells or tastes like fish, of course!

There's a fishy smell coming from the fridge. We should clean it out.

However, this word is more commonly used to describe situations and sometimes people. Its meaning is similar to "suspicious."

The situation seemed fishy to her, so she decided to investigate and find out more.


A young woman about to take a bite into a large piece of cheese

Like you may have guessed, "cheesy" for food means something has a lot of cheese.

This pizza is so cheesy!

When talking about people and their manners, it means something is not cool or stylish, or that is too silly.

All of his cheesy jokes embarrassed everybody.

It can also be used for things like movies and songs. In addition to silly, it can include the nuance of being too dramatic or emotional, especially in a way that is not believable.

That movie was so cheesy. Who wrote all of that horrible dialogue?

If someone has a cheesy smile, they might not be very honest.

The politician waved at the crowd with a big, cheesy smile on his face.


Dough is a mixture of flour and liquid that is used to make bread, cakes and other snacks. As an adjective, it becomes "doughy," which describes something soft (like bread dough) or something that is only half-baked.

I baked some bread this morning, but it's a bit doughy.
This pie crust is a little doughy because it wasn't cooked long enough.

Doughy isn't used for personalities, but it can describe a person's body. Someone who is overweight or who has a soft body can be called doughy. It may also include the meaning of pale, or white in an unhealthy way.

My brother gained 20 pounds recently, so now he's a bit doughy.
They spend lots of time indoors and never exercise, so they're all pretty doughy.


Here is another word that shouldn't be difficult to understand; "meaty" foods have lots of meat in them.

You need to try this stew — it's so meaty!
That's a big, meaty sandwich.

When using it to talk about people, meaty means that they are overweight or that they are very muscular.

It's sometimes hard for him to type with his large, meaty fingers.
She's been working out, so she's got big, meaty arms.


The last word on our list is "hearty," which describes food that is rich and likely to make you feel full.

This hotel serves a hearty breakfast and very good coffee.
I had a hearty soup for lunch, so I'm not very hungry right now.

When describing people, it means "cheerful."

My father is still hale and hearty* at the age of 97.

*"Hale and hearty" means "healthy and energetic," especially when talking about older people.

Our teacher has a hearty sense of humor.

One word, multiple meanings

Words like those we've covered in this list can be great for English learners since you can get more "bang for your buck" with each new vocabulary word. Look for opportunities to try them out and your conversations will instantly become more expressive and interesting. Just be careful: Some of these words aren't very polite to say directly to someone!