What Does Acquired Taste Mean?

Acquired Taste Meaning

Definition: The taste of a food that a person must try several times before enjoying it.

Sometimes, people use this expression figuratively to mean anything that a person must try several times before enjoying it.

Origin of Acquired Taste

This expression has existed since the mind-1800s, and it most likely developed from the meaning of the word acquired.

Acquired originated in the 1400s and means to gain for oneself through one’s actions.

Examples of Acquired Taste

define acquired tasteIn the dialogue below, two friends are at an art show at a local museum.

Ezekiel: Wow. This art is really amazing. It’s deep and philosophical.

Maggie: Are you being sarcastic? I can’t tell.

Ezekiel: Of course not! This art speaks to my soul!

Maggie: Really? It just doesn’t seem like anything special. It’s just a bunch of random shapes. I feel like a four year old could have painted this.

Ezekiel: I know what you mean. That’s what I thought when I first saw this artist’s work. But, over time, I started noticing more and more subtle signs of beauty. It’s an acquired taste.

Maggie: Well, I’m going to go look at the Egyptian exhibit. Maybe I’ll like the modern art more after I see it a second time.

Ezekiel: Yeah. Take another look later!

acquire a taste forHere is another example in which two friends are discussing whether or not coffee and beer are delicious

Mila: Would you like any coffee?

Tyrion: Oh, no thank you. Coffee tastes awful. I’ll have a beer, though, if you have one.

Mila: You think coffee tastes bad, but you like beer? Beer tastes like moldy water!

Tyrion: Well, I suppose they are both acquired tastes. I’ll try coffee again if you try beer again.

Mila: Okay. I guess it couldn’t hurt to try.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a fish that is too flavorful at first, but, after sampling it several times, many people like it.

  • The amplified seasoning is an acquired taste for some, but many find it makes the sturdy fish pair perfectly with a dollop of crème fraiche and the thin, crepe-like pancakes known as blini, a quintessential Russian appetizer. –LA Times

This excerpt is about a racecar driver whom people dislike at first, but, after some time has passed, they like him more.

  • Johnson always has been kind of an acquired taste for a noticeable number of NASCAR fans. Maybe it’s because he’s from California. –LA Times


The phrase an acquired taste means something that seems unpleasant initially but people gradually like a little more each time they try it.