Just when you think you know all there is to know about food, people discover the “cheetle” or create a “mukbang”.
Food is beloved around the world, and even as people think up new ways of cooking, decorating and presenting meals, dictionaries are working hard to keep up with the vocabulary of the experience.
In 2020, COVID-19 lockdowns saw more people heading into the kitchen. A Harvard Business Review report cited a survey in which 54 per cent of Americans said they were cooking more than they were before the pandemic. It’s a similar story in other parts of the world. So, it’s no wonder that food-related vocabulary is on the rise.
To keep you informed, we picked 10 interesting food words and slang terms that emerged recently. Here’s our list:
Something that can be baked or is suitable for being baked. The word also refers to equipment or devices that can be heated to high temperatures. Added to Oxford English Dictionary in September 2020, as more and more people decided to cook at home during the COVID-19 lockdown.
French for ‘base’, this word refers to the delicious browned bits of food that collect at the bottom of a pan during cooking, especially after sautéing meat or vegetables. Added to Oxford English Dictionary in December 2020.
Belly-wash (slang, n.)
Any barely drinkable liquid or beverage, such as inferior soda, coffee, or soup. It can also mean nonsense. This slang term, which originated in the second half of the 19th century, made a comeback thanks to a popular YouTube channel called The Angry Grandpa Show. On January 23, 2021, Dictionary.com made it the Word of the Day.
Cooking utensils and other kitchen-related items, regarded collectively, and even used as collectables. With more time on their hands to explore different recipes in their kitchens, home cooks brought this word back into popular use in 2020. Collins Dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary both updated the entry last year.
Cheetle (slang, n.)
In January 2020, the snack food giant Frito-Lay announced this new term for the powdery orange residue left behind on one’s fingers after eating Cheetos. Dictionary.com, among others, promptly added the word to their slang dictionary.
Cookie Monster (n.)
A person or thing which resembles the Cookie Monster character from Sesame Street, in being voraciously hungry or insatiably greedy; someone or something that devours food. Added to the Oxford English Dictionary in September 2020.
A video in which the host eats a large quantity of food for the entertainment of his/her viewers. The word originates from the Korean words “meogneun” (eating) and “bangsong” (broadcast). The concept gained popularity in South Korea in 2010 and has since become a global trend. While mukbang did not win the Word of the Year spot in Collins Dictionary (it went to ‘Lockdown’), it did make it to their 2020 Shortlisted Words list.
Often used synonymously with ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’, the word designates food or drink that is derived from plants. It is also increasingly used in contexts in which people are trying to reduce the consumption of animal products, rather than eliminating them from their diets completely. The Oxford English Dictionary added the entry in June 2020.
Kitchie (slang, n.)
A room, building, or area in which food is prepared and cooked. The word is also the Scottish variant of ‘kitchen’, according to Merriam-Webster, which added the quirky slang to its dictionary in 2020.
Bread hook (slang, n.)
This slang word originated in North America and refers to one’s finger or hand. Usually used in plural form. It was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in September 2020, as people around the world embraced comfort food during the pandemic, with bread being one of the most popular items on the menu.