[ mas-ti-key-shuhn ]
/ ˌmæs tɪˈkeɪ ʃən /
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the act or process of chewing: Limited ability to open the mouth may make proper mastication of food more difficult.
the act or process of grinding, shredding, crushing, or kneading to a pulp: In the office he could hear the soft chatter of people on their phones, the steely mastication of a paper shredder, the thwack of a coffee mug being set down.A machine with two horizontal rolls revolving in opposite directions is used for the mastication of rubber.
Forestry. the act or process of grinding up small trees and brush in a forest in order to thin it out or reduce the fuel available to forest fires: The remains of mastication and chipping are left on the forest floor, forming a mulch to protect the soil from compaction and erosion.
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OTHER WORDS FROM mastication

re·mas·ti·ca·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does mastication mean?

Mastication is a technical word for the act of chewing.

Mastication is the noun form of the verb masticate, meaning to chew or, less commonly, to reduce to a pulp by crushing or kneading, as is done in the rubber-making process. Mastication is almost always used in a scientific or technical context. In the everyday context of eating, people usually just say chewing.

Example: Saliva is released from glands under the tongue to aid in the process of  mastication.

Where does mastication 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 meant “chewing gum.”)

In the study of how humans and animals eat (at the least the ones with teeth), mastication refers to the process of breaking down pieces of food with the teeth in order to swallow them. 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 use different methods of masticationcarnivores (meat eaters) typically chew up and down, while herbivores (plant eaters) generally chew from side to side. In human mastication, the most important thing to remember is to do it with your mouth 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 mastication?

  • masticate (verb)

What are some synonyms for mastication?

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



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


How is mastication used in real life?

Mastication 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 chewing.


Try using mastication!

Is mastication used properly in the following sentence?

The study of mastication often involves the anatomy of the mouth, including the teeth and jaw, as well as the tongue and salivary glands.

How to use mastication in a sentence