[ mas-ti-keyt ]
/ ˈmæs tɪˌkeɪt /
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See synonyms for: masticate / mastication on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with or without object), mas·ti·cat·ed, mas·ti·cat·ing.

to chew.
to reduce to a pulp by crushing or kneading, as rubber.



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Origin of masticate

First recorded in 1640–50; from Late Latin masticātus, past participle of masticāre “to chew”; see mastic, -ate1


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does masticate mean?

Masticate is a technical word meaning to chew.

The word masticate is almost always used in a scientific or technical context. In the everyday context of eating, people usually just say chew. The noun form of masticate is mastication, which refers to the act of chewing.

Less commonly, masticate means to reduce to a pulp by crushing or kneading, as is done in the rubber-making process.

Example: When we masticate, saliva is released from glands under the tongue to aid in the process of chewing and swallowing.

Where does masticate come from?

Masticate comes from the Late Latin masticāre, meaning “to chew,” from the Greek mastikhan, “to grind the teeth.” The English word mastic derives from the same Greek word and refers to a type of tree and the resin from it that’s used to make rubber and chewing gum. (The related Greek word mastíchē means “chewing gum.”)

In the study of how humans and animals eat (at the least the ones with teeth), the act of breaking down pieces of food with the teeth in order to swallow them is called masticating. We typically don’t think about it as we’re doing it, but certain teeth are used for certain foods and stages of the chewing process. And animals with different diets masticate differently—carnivores (meat eaters) typically chew up and down, while herbivores (plant eaters) generally chew from side to side. When humans masticate, the most important thing for them to remember is to do it with their mouths closed. And while we’re using technical words, remember that mastication is followed by deglutition—the process of swallowing.

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What are some other forms related to masticate?

  • mastication (noun)
  • masticable (adjective)
  • masticator (noun)
  • half-masticated (adjective)

What are some synonyms for masticate?

What are some words that share a root or word element with masticate



What are some words that often get used in discussing masticate?


How is masticate used in real life?

Masticate is most commonly used in a scientific or technical way, though people sometimes use it to be funny by choosing a technical word instead of just saying chew.



Try using masticate!

Is masticate used properly in the following sentence?

The study of how humans masticate involves examining the anatomy of the mouth, including the teeth and jaw, as well as the tongue and salivary glands.

Example sentences from the Web for masticate

British Dictionary definitions for masticate

/ (ˈmæstɪˌkeɪt) /


to chew (food)
to reduce (materials such as rubber) to a pulp by crushing, grinding, or kneading

Derived forms of masticate

masticable, adjectivemastication, nounmasticator, noun

Word Origin for masticate

C17: from Late Latin masticāre, from Greek mastikhan to grind the teeth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for masticate

[ măstĭ-kāt′ ]


To chew food.

Other words from masticate

mas′ti•cation n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.