Difference Between Eatable and Edible

Eatable vs Edible

Eatable and edible are two words in English language that lead to confusion among most people, let alone non-natives. This is because of the ostensible similarities in their meanings. Despite overlap, there are subtle differences between the meanings of eatable and edible suggesting the use of the two words in different contexts.


Eatable is a word made up of ‘eat’ and ‘able’ which implies that anything that is able to be eaten classifies as being eatable. Synonyms for the word are edible and comestible. However, the word is used sparingly in this sense and edible is the term used more frequently. Eatable is used more in the sense of food that is not of very high quality but one that can still be eaten. In fact, eatable is a rather informal term and today used more to describe food items in a party as eatables.


Edible comes from Latin edibilis, which means to eat. It is a word that describes a food item that can be consumed without harm. This is a sense that is sought to be conveyed when we talk of edible flowers and edible oils, as well as edible fruits. Edible is used in text more often to refer to items that can be eaten without any worries as they are not poisonous. If we say that fish is edible, it means that the fish is not poisonous and is fit enough for consumption.

What is the difference between Eatable and Edible?

• There is not much of a difference between eatable and edible though eatable is informal and used very sparingly whereas edible is used much more commonly.

• Edible means something that is not toxic or poisonous and fit enough for consumption whereas eatable means something that is palatable.

• So something that is ready to be eaten is an eatable.

• Raw meat is edible but yet not eatable until it has been cooked

• Something that is edible is not always eatable, but if it is eatable, it is automatically edible.

  • mr.mom

    No, when something is eatable doesn’t mean its edible. For example, a human has the ability to eat another human (Cannibalism) , but they shouldn’t because its been scientificly proven that eating a human causes brain diseases. If something does harm to the body and mind, its not edible. So, what’s eatable may not be edible. The person who wrote what’s edible may not be eatable is correct too.