Palpable vs palatable

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Palpable and palatable are two words that are very close in pronunciation and spelling, but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words palpable and palatable, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Palpable describes something that feels tangible, something obvious and easily perceived, something one may perceive through the senses, something that may be touched. Palpable is an adjective, related words are palpably, palpability. The word palpable is derived from the Latin word palpare which means stroke or touch gently.

Palatable describes something that tastes pleasant or something that is satisfactory. Palatable is an adjective, related words are palatably, palatability. The word palatable is derived from the word palate, taken from the Latin word palatum which means roof of the mouth, and the suffix -able, which is used to make adjectives out of nouns.


Anguish among the Brexiteers is palpable in these long days of summer, even to your diarist on the far shores of Nova Scotia. (The New York Sun)

These dynamics are suggestive of a palpable tension between progress and the status quo. It remains to be seen which will prevail. (The Star)

Barely a fortnight after Premier League giants Arsenal won over Australian fans on their tour down under, the Gunners’ owner is about to deliver something far less palatable to these shores. (The Canberra Times)

Satisfy cravings for palatable must-try mains such as the Classic Kare-Kare, Adobong Pula, and Kalderetang Kambing. (The Manila Times)

Researchers have found that mice fed a palatable high-fat diet experience stress responses that resemble drug withdrawal when their food is switched to a low-fat diet. (Science Daily)