Word Confusion: Gourmand versus Gourmet

Posted December 21, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

When I ran across this word confusion in my pending list, I thought how appropriate it is for this time of the year. All that yummy candy, cookies, feasts, and parties goin’ on where it is so hard to resist ingesting all those lovely flavors.

Yep, I got to wondering if I was more gourmand versus gourmet. And whaddya know. Seems I’m both a gourmet and a gourmand. It simply depends on what I’m eating. I do adore a lovely coulibiac of salmon, a tasty foie gras, or a lovely meal of fresh crab and Boudin’s sourdough bread — the gourmet side…and I tend to go overboard when it comes to boiled shrimp, or ahem, chocolate — a gourmandizing fool. I went all thoughtful about that Big Mac I enjoy…on the one hand, I only eat one, but on the other hand, it’s not a gourmet choice, lol.

In the end it comes down to a gourmet is one who tastes and enjoys each morsel while a gourmand is more likely to shovel it in.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Gourmand Gourmet
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: gourmet

A waiter delivering a high-piled bowl of food to a fat man at a table.

“Gourmand” is an oil painted by Henri Brispot, which is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A carefully presented artichoke in a sauce including diced carrots, cracked coriander, olives, and paprika

“Artichauts à la barigoule” is Varaine’s own work under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

A typical gourmet dish with a beautiful presentation.

Part of Grammar:
Plural for noun: gourmands / gourmandes

Male: gourmand
Female: gourmande

Adjective; Noun
Plural for noun: gourmets

A person who enjoys eating and often indiscriminatingly, eating too much

  • A connoisseur of good food
  • Epicure

Of or characteristic of a gourmet, especially in involving or purporting to involve high-quality or exotic ingredients and skilled preparation

Elaborately equipped for the preparation of fancy, specialized, or exotic meals

A connoisseur of good food

  • A person with a discerning palate for the enjoyment of good food and drink
  • Of a kind or standard suitable for a discriminating eater
  • Epicure
Janie is such a gourmand. She’ll even overindulge in those crappy hamburgers.

“They gleefully bathe in fresh entrails; they rip the limbs off human bodies like a gourmand digging into a fresh lobster.” – Matthew Shaer, “Stoker Family Values“, The Daily Beast, 30 October 2009

Yeah, well Petey is such a gourmand with his queso and chips!

He claims he does gourmet cooking.

He always prepares an excellent gourmet meal.

A gourmet meal can be the difference between a can of tuna and some potato chips to make a casserole or a fresh tuna steak and some tiny potatoes.

Back when I was househunting, I had to laugh at a realtor’s idea of a “gourmet” kitchen.

Trina is such a gourmet in her love for fine food and those subtle flavors.

No, Marian really is a gourmet, cooking with high end raw ingredients.

Anyone who takes care in the preparation and taste of a meal is a gourmet, in my opinion.

It’s a club for gourmets of all types. And no gourmands allowed!

Noun: gourmandism
Verb: gourmandise
History of the Word:
Late Middle English from the Old French is of unknown origin. Early 19th century French, originally meaning wine taster and influenced by gourmand.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Small Brie Noir is Christian888’s own work under the CC BY 3.0 license and Kaeseplatte by Dorina Andress is under the GFDL license; both are via Wikimedia Commons.

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