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When to use palate, palette, and pallet?

The Answer

  • Palate relates to taste.
  • Palette relates to colour.
  • Pallet is a structure on which to pile things.

I’ve often struggled with the word to use when describing a colour palette. Spell-check doesn’t help because each of these words is valid. It turns out that the one I most often will use (as a web developer) is palette.

palate /ˈpalət/

1. The roof of the mouth, separating the cavities of the mouth and nose in vertebrates.

2. A person’s ability to distinguish between and appreciate different flavours.

Palate | Definition of Palate by Lexico

If I were a foodie or wine connoisseur I might more frequently use palate,.

palette /ˈpalɪt/

1. A thin board or slab on which an artist lays and mixes colours.

1.1 The range of colours used by a particular artist or in a particular picture.

Palette | Definition of Palette by Lexico

If I worked in shipping and receiving, I would be all about the pallet

pallet /ˈpalɪt/

1. A portable platform on which goods can be stacked, stored, and moved.

Pallet | Definition of Pallet by Lexico

If I had a colorful shipping platform that tasted good, I might describe the “nice pallet with the bold palette that is pleasing to my palate“.

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