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eat +‎ -able (able, capable)


eatable (comparative more eatable, superlative most eatable)

  1. Able to be eaten; edible.
    • 1847, Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Chapter XIII
      The contents of the pan began to boil, and he turned to plunge his hand into the bowl; I conjectured that this preparation was probably for our supper, and, being hungry, I resolved it should be eatable;
    • 1891, Alfred Russel Wallace, Natural selection and tropical nature[1], page 399:
      When the seeds are larger, softer, and more eatable, they are protected by an excessively hard and stony covering, as in the plum and peach tribe ; or they are enclosed in a tough horny core, as with crabs and apples.
    • 1911, Baboon, article in Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition,
      Their diet includes practically everything eatable they can capture or kill.

Usage notesEdit

Rather informal, due to simple analysis as eat + -able. edible is the usual term, and much more frequent – eatable may be considered as an error – while comestible is relatively formal.

More narrowly, used to mean “food that can be eaten, but is not of very high quality”.



Coordinate termsEdit



eatable (plural eatables)

  1. (chiefly in the plural) Anything edible; food.