EAT and related vocabulary

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

To eat is a verb. We eat when we’re hungry and sometimes when we're not (out of boredom, for example). Sometimes we love our meal and sometimes we don’t have an appetite. Look at the following eating styles and note the differences:

nibble ---> eat ---> munch ---> gnaw ---> devour

These are not synonyms. Each word has a specific, different meaning related to the word "eat", ranging from weaker (on the left) to stronger, higher levels of intensity (on the right).

nibble: take small bites
eat: to consume food
munch: to eat continuously while chewing noisily
gnaw: to bite or nibble something persistently
devour: to eat hungrily or quickly

To add informality to your English conversations, try familiarizing yourself with these related idioms:

pick at: eat food in small amounts or without much of an appetite
wolf down: devour food greedily
inhale: eat food rapidly or greedily

Do you understand the words?

1. A sick person might "pick at" their food. YES NO
2. To "eat" involves chewing and swallowing food. YES NO
3. Good snacks to "munch" are potato chips or popcorn. YES NO
4. A hungry teenager can easily "inhale" a pizza. YES NO
5. A mouse might "nibble" on some cheese. YES NO
6. A person with a small appetite usually "devours" a meal. YES NO
7. A person with a large appetite can "wolf down" a meal. YES NO
8. A nervous person might "gnaw" on their fingernails. YES NO

1. yes, 2. yes, 3. yes, 4. yes, 5. yes, 6. no, 7. yes, 8. yes


Can you remember the words? (Use correct verb forms)

1. Silvia loves to m _ _ _ _ on popcorn at the cinema.
2. Rebecca gets a stomach ache whenever she e_ _ _ too much candy.
3. Paolo can i _ _ _ _ _ a hamburger in two bites.
4. Andrea never eats his vegetables. He just p _ _ _ _ a_ his plate.
5. My brother will w _ _ _ d _ _ _ his dinner after football practice.
6. The homeless man always d _ _ _ _ _ _ his free meal.
7. My pet rabbit likes to n _ _ _ _ _ on carrots.
8. Jerry’s dog was happily g_ _ _ _ _ _ on a bone in the kitchen.


1. munch, 2. eats, 3. inhale, 4. picks at, 5. wolf down, 6. devours, 7. nibble, 8. gnawing


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