Hello everyone!

Today I decided to talk to you about eating. Everybody has to eat, right? But “eat” seems such a simple word. The beauty with English is that it’s a very rich language.  So why shouldn’t we use all the options that English has to offer? Maybe you’re not just eating, maybe you’re gorging, or quite the opposite, noshing, or perhaps you’re munching on something. :)

I thought I’d share with you some words that describe different ways of eating, so I looked some of them up and this is the result.

Nibble (at/on)

Eating Cartoon 2This German origin word (Middle Low German “nibbelen”) is probably one of the most popular verbs used to describe eating. Nibbling means “biting off small bits” , or you “eating, or chewing gently and in small amounts” . If you nibble at your food, you might not feel like eating, or you might be a very delicate person.   

She was so upset she could only nibble at her food.

Munch (on)

If someone is munching, he or she is chewing  with steady or vigorous working of the jaws, often audibly, so I assume they’re either very hungry, or really lack table manners. The word comes from late Middle English ( 14th-15th century) and probably has no connection to Edward Munch (the painter).

He started munching on that slice of pizza as if he hadn’t eaten for days.

Peck (at)

This words means that one nibbles indifferently or unenthusiastically at food.  I imagine it’s how supermodels eat, taking the food bit by bit, just like birds do. Got it? Supermodels…birds… chicks? :)

Haven’t noticed them actually eating though they do peck at it.


There are many different ways to partake in a meal. If you’re famished, you’re more likely to gobble. This word, which means  “to eat hastily, in large pieces” (but is also how turkeys “talk” ) is thought to be a formation from the word “gob”, which is slang for “mouth”.  But it would be fun to try both of them at the dinner table.

Tom woke up famished in the middle of the night opened the fridge and gobbled up any leftovers.


Another term for the ravenous, the word expresses a beastly manner of eating, a degree of barbarous consumption, and is of Latin origin (‘devorare’).

„The poor Creatures rather devoured than eat it.” (“Robinson Crusoe”)

Scarf (up/down)

No, it’s not about the fashion accessory. As a verb, it can also mean „to eat, especially voraciously” (another one!!) and implies a rapid or frenzied feeding. Just be careful when you scarf up your meal not to get any stains on your scarf!

Children scarf up their sandwiches so they have more time to play.


This is a tricky one, so you should use this term wisely. It is slang for “to eat” but also for “to supply food”,  and  it can be used to refer to food itself (actually the most common use – as a noun). But beware: in its noun form, this wily word can also mean „a dull, plodding person,” or the „sluggish larva, as of a scarab beetle.” So be careful what you say.

Some participating pubs will be offering good hearty classic pub grub with some special dishes cooked in ale !

Chow Down

An American English word (originally used in California, mid 19th century) which is associated more with meals of substance than snacks, the phrase incorporates the word “chow”, from the Chinese pidgin English word “chow-chow” meaning „food.”

In the army we usually chow down at 6 p.m.


This word, which comes from the Old French verb “gorger”, means both „to eat greedily” and „to stuff with food.” I’ve already lost count on how many words we have for eating greedily… Humanity really must be starving!

Thanksgiving is a day to gorge on turkey with all the fixings.


Finally, a change! Unlike devour and gorge, this word for eating implies a lighter and more casual consumption. Nosh means „to snack or eat between meals” or „to snack on.” It came to English from the Yiddish “nashn” meaning “to nibble.”

They noshed peanuts and cookies while watching television.

Well, this is it! You now have 10 (new) words you can use instead of the plain, ordinary “eat”.

Sursa foto aici.


Laura Sîrbu este absolventă a Facultăţii de Litere din cadrul Universităţii Bucureşti, specializarea Română – Engleză. Tot în cadrul Universităţii, ea a absolvit masteratul „Studii Americane”, organizat la Facultatea de Limbi şi Literaturi Străine.

Laura deţine autorizaţie de traducător pentru limba engleză şi atestatul lingvistic „Cambridge Proficiency Certificate.”