Edible/comestible/esculent

Scorpion56

Member
Polish
I was wondering if you could tell me the difference between edible, comestible and esculent. In Oxford Dictionary of English they are defined in the same way. If a plant may be eaten without harm, for it is not poisonous or noxious, it seems to me that none of them is malapropos in limning the plant, and they all convey the same meaning. Am I right?
 
  • BLUEGLAZE

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    'Edible' is what people commonly use. People who know none of these words would say eatable.
    Using 'Comestible' is showing off an education if used in conversation, at least in the US.
    'Esculent' was an unknown to me until your question and I would suggest it might be found in
    literature or scientific writing if it is not obsolete.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I’d also add:
    Malapropos is fancier than you need here and what does limning mean?
    I don’t know if it’s a typo or some other unused word you have mined from your thesaurus.
    :confused:
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Both malapropos and limn exist as words. Limn means describe in paintings or words. :)
    The use of "limn" also runs contrary to the goal of communicating. Another word choice (almost any other word choice) would be superior in that regard.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I know what all of the words mean, but I have never used 'esculent', 'comestible', 'malapropos', or 'limn', not even in my most luxuriously literary style, and I've never heard anyone else use any of them (except possibly as a joke). You will sound ridiculous if you use any of these in speech.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Both malapropos and limn exist as words. Limn means describe in paintings or words. :)
    I told you already the choice of malapropos is too fancy in your context.
    As for limn ?
    Hmmm. I take that with a pinch of salt. Firstly, most definitions I found of limn are about paintings and colour, or metaphors of painting. To say nothing of the fact that the OED labels it as both literary and archaic. Hence it sounds ludicrous in your sentence.
    Secondly: It’s really a bad idea to use a thesaurus without some sense of how your findings are deployed in real life contexts.
    It ain’t big and it ain’t clever.
    :D
     
    Last edited:

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I know what all of the words mean, but I have never used 'esculent', 'comestible', 'malapropos', or 'limn', not even in my most luxuriously literary style, and I've never heard anyone else use any of them (except possibly as a joke). You will sound ridiculous if you use any of these in speech.
    I do see “comestibles”, but almost invariably it is in a translation from Spanish or some other Latin-derived language. I believe the Spanish spelling is very similar and the meaning is the same.
     
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