Is there a word that means edible-or-potable?
March 17, 2008 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Words for things you eat: edibles, comestibles, food. Words for things you drink: potables, drinks. Is there a generic term for things that you eat or drink?

Let's say that I top up my pet's food and water supply. I want to be able to say that I replenished his X, where X is just a single word. It strikes me that there should be such a word, but I'm drawing a blank.
posted by painquale to Writing & Language (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by box at 4:17 PM on March 17, 2008

posted by LobsterMitten at 4:18 PM on March 17, 2008

posted by SurrenderMonkey at 4:20 PM on March 17, 2008

posted by box at 4:20 PM on March 17, 2008

I replenished his meal?
posted by theiconoclast31 at 4:23 PM on March 17, 2008

posted by nasreddin at 4:25 PM on March 17, 2008

"Rations", or "provisions", could work.
I think of "foodstuffs" as including liquids, but a dictionary check seems to only mention food.
"Supplies", in the context of a pet, might do it.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:25 PM on March 17, 2008

posted by macadamiaranch at 4:30 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:30 PM on March 17, 2008

posted by limeonaire at 4:31 PM on March 17, 2008

[[chuckles]] Or, yes, mana.
posted by limeonaire at 4:32 PM on March 17, 2008

Seconding provisions. I use it regularly in this exact way, to describe feeding and watering of the small beasts in our house such as child and cat without expending additional energy on the second and third words ("food and water," eg.), and it seems to work.

Plus now the child has learned the word, and it's cute when she asks if we can "stop for provisions" or announces that she "thinks we need provisions" if we are out of Froot Loops, so at least in my house it also adds high-comedy value in the category of Precocious Children Occasionally Saying Very Grownup Things.
posted by pineapple at 4:33 PM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: These are good suggestions, but most of them are much more food-oriented than drink-oriented. 'Ingestibles' is more of a throw-on-a-suffix, roll-your-own word than I was hoping for. 'Provisions' is really good and is probably the best so far, even though it captures the concept of food or drink only accidentally (in that we often but not always need to be provided with food and drink). I like 'mana' a lot.

If there are words for this concept in other languages, that'd be interesting too. Then I could bust out some foreign phrase whenever I go to a restaurant, and when people ask me what it means, I could tell them, sniff haughtily, and complain about the inexpressiveness of English.
posted by painquale at 4:38 PM on March 17, 2008

I replenished his bowls?
posted by box at 4:39 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

For the specific purpose of saying you replenished your dog's _____, I like provisions as well. In some other context's though, provisions could include things other than food too. I like consumables and ingestables for these instances. Mana could have a very specific meaning. Oh, and I almost forgot, I think if the context is economic, consumables could mean anything that is used. One would probably say "consumable goods", but someone still could misunderstand you. Perishables doesn't work for me. Some food, and a lot of pet food, has a very long shelf life, and isn't thought of as "perishable". Water also isn't very perishable. I don't have any better terms myself though. I'm only good for criticizing others.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 4:41 PM on March 17, 2008

Response by poster: The pet example was meant just to illustrate the sort of concept I was going for, by the way. I'm not really all too interested in that sentence. I want this to apply to peoplefood and peopledrinks too.
posted by painquale at 4:43 PM on March 17, 2008

The closest I've found so far is Nourishment or its synonym Sustenance. The OED defintions are not too food-oriented including examples such as "The plants draw most of their sustenance from the air."
posted by vacapinta at 4:43 PM on March 17, 2008

Oh, found one. Nutriment. We generally think of nourishments (or at least I do) as specific vitamins, minerals, compounds, whatever, that the body needs. But nutriments would be the actual source material. I think this would be highly understood. Vittles/victuals as nasreddin suggested is similar too. Though some of the definitions I found include only food, and not any nourishing food or drink.

Also, I should have previewed before my last post. Sorry.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 4:50 PM on March 17, 2008

Dietary needs? Sustenance?
posted by spaceman_spiff at 4:51 PM on March 17, 2008

Rations seems like an option.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:54 PM on March 17, 2008

Yeah, I came here to say Sustenance.
posted by hot soup girl at 4:56 PM on March 17, 2008

posted by jasondigitized at 4:56 PM on March 17, 2008

I'd go with "provender," or maybe "victuals." Though I'm liking gauchodaspampas's suggestion of "nutriment."
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:13 PM on March 17, 2008

nutriment is good.
aliment is similar, maybe just for solids.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:14 PM on March 17, 2008

I think rations is closer to what you're looking for than provisions... Both seem military in some sense to me, but rations conjours up images of foodstuff specifically, whereas provisions seems more general (but maybe this is my perception, since i can think of at least one case "ration of cigarettes" where ration is used for something other than food)

If we're talking about verbs rather than nouns, then the term "fed" seems to work for both food/drink in our house, but I get that you're looking for a noun!
posted by ranglin at 5:19 PM on March 17, 2008

nthing "sustenance". 'course, on the farm we'd just say "feed and water the $animal".
posted by socratic at 6:02 PM on March 17, 2008

Another vote for "victuals"
posted by arcticseal at 6:33 AM on March 18, 2008


Nthing rations and provisions.
posted by sapphirebbw at 7:04 AM on March 18, 2008

posted by chugg at 1:31 PM on March 18, 2008

♬ Conjunction junction... what's your function? ♬

There doesn't need to be a single word for everything. That's why we have boolean connectors.
posted by Caviar at 5:41 AM on March 19, 2008

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