[ mas-ti-keyt ]
/ ˈmæs tɪˌkeɪt /

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

1640–50; < Late Latin masticātus, past participle of masticāre to chew. See mastic, -ate1

OTHER WORDS FROM masticate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


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.

Example sentences from the Web for mastication

British Dictionary definitions for mastication

/ (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 mastication

[ 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.