acquired taste


Senior Member
Hi there,

when people say that something is "a bit of an acquired taste", is there some sort of value judgement implied? I've heard it in contexts where it seemed to be pejorative, but then I've also heard it in connection with expensive wines or fancy food, where it seemed to mean (in a positive way) that you have to be a "connaisseur" in order to really appreciate the thing in question...

Thanks for any clarifications.
  • Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Welcome to the forum, Kamelie.

    You're right that the phrase may have a negative connotation, but it need not. Sometimes it's a polite way of saying that you personally think a particular type of food is awful, even though others like it. Other times it simply reports a fact about the food, that not everyone likes it at first, and some won't ever like it.

    BTW, it does not have to refer only to food. I can be used for types of art, literature, etc. -- anything where "taste" varies and is important to an appreciation of the item.

    Ms Missy

    Senior Member
    USA English
    From the time I was a very young child, I have never liked oatmeal (and I still don't). So would it be correct for me to say:

    1. I never acquired a taste for oatmeal.

    But hypothetically, suppose I didn't like it as a child, but find that I like it as an adult. In that case would it be correct to say:

    2. I never acquired a taste for oatmeal until after I was grown.

    I guess my point is whether "acquired" is a bit too formal for ordinary (common) foods that you were exposed to at an early age. It sounds okay to say "I never acquired a taste for French wines" but not quite okay to say, "I never aquired a taste for rice." Do you think the "timing" has any bearing on the usage of "acquired" versus "never liked."

    Thanks for comments!


    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think the original question was about the verb "acquired" generally, but about the set phrase "It's an acquired taste". "I'm not sure that everyone will like the amchoor in this curry. It is something of an acquired taste".


    English (Canada)
    I have often heard it used in terms of something (particularly food) exotic and strange: i.e. Haggis: sheep's stomach? To me this sounds disgusting, but a Scot might say it's an acquired taste.
    Hope this helps!


    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Can I use an acquired taste for sports?

    If I have not been brought up watching American football, and I don't get the love for it, can I say the sport is an acquire taste? (of course not within the hearing distance of Americans.)
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >