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acquired taste (plural acquired tastes)

  1. A taste which is not natural or innate, but which has developed through habit or learning.
    • 1939 July 24, "Italy: Home Again," Time:
      Like many another Italian War hero, young Dino Grandi had turned to the post-War Fascist movement to satisfy an acquired taste for action.
  2. (idiomatic) Something that is appreciated only after having initially been regarded as unappealing or unpleasant; a person who is regarded as difficult or dislikable but of whom at least some have grown to approve.
    • 1978 May 29, Frank Rich, "Cinema: Joyride," Time:
      Since most adults do not share this director's unquenchable optimism, even his best movies tend to be an acquired taste.
    • 2006 Oct. 30, Phil Elderkin, "Red Auerbach, an off-court legend," Christian Science Monitor (retrieved 30 Aug. 2009):
      NBA Hall of Famer Arnold "Red" Auerbach was an acquired taste for most people who had to deal with him on a regular basis. . . his rough edges becoming part and parcel of his storied success.