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Pronounced /ˈsæpɪd/Help with pronunciation

Something sapid has a strong, pleasant taste.

An example appeared in a restaurant column by James Chatto in Toronto Life on 30 April 2008: “It was an inspired pairing with a sapid Berkshire pork tenderloin stuffed with lightweight shrimp-and-saffron mousse.”

More than a century ago, H G Wells employed the word in his story, Filmer, which was collected in Twelve Stories And a Dream, published in 1903: “As he spoke we had a glimpse of the other youngster, a little, white face, pallid from sweet-eating and over-sapid food, and distorted by evil passions, a ruthless little egotist, pawing at the enchanted pane.”

Sapid comes from Latin sapidus, savoury, in turn from sapere, to have a taste or savour, from which we get insipid as well as savour. That verb had another sense, to be sensible or wise, and has given us sapient, savant, sage and the French savoir-faire.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 28 Jun. 2008

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-sap1.htm
Last modified: 28 June 2008.