What do you call a person who has gotten used to have quite high-quality and nutritious foods habitually and in a considerable amount? (Such that individual sometimes often devours their food!)

The only word I found to encapsulate both concepts in one single word is trencherman which can be used as a noun.

A person who eats a substantial amount; a gourmand; one with a healthy appetite, and a cultivated appreciation for dining.

  • You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it; he is a very valiant trencher-man; he hath an excellent stomach. (1599)
  • The heavyweight champion of the world was off his feed. . . . Rocky, ordinarily a first-rate trencherman, was pushing away from the breakfast table after downing only two eggs and a pair of lamb chops. (1954)


My questions:

  1. Does it sound archaic to you or it is still in current use?
  2. Is there an interchangeable synonym for that?
  3. Is there any adjective to be used instead?
  4. Maybe for each one of my raised qualities, there is an independent and specific word which can uniquely explain the person; if so, please let me know about them as well.
  • 2
    You will find a host of suitable descriptions at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foodie . Trencherman is certainly not a word I'm familiar with. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 10:44
  • Never heard the word before, which is why I included its definition in the edit. In your shoes, I would have asked if the same term could be used for a woman without it sounding very odd.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 10:47
  • Thank you @Ronald Sole; I know this word, but to me it strikes as an informal noun while what I'm looking for can be used either in everyday speech or in written language!
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 10:49
  • 1
    "Gourmand" (referenced in the definition of trencherman) might be a good choice. I would guess it is more common than trencherman. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 10:58
  • 1
    A "trencherman" or more often a "good trencherman" is a person who eats heartily, i.e. eats a large amount and does so vigorously and generally rapidly. It has nothing to do with the quality of the food. I think this word is quite obsolete, if not archaic. It refers to the middle-ages practice of serving food on a "trencher" -- a piece of hard bread used as a plate. I have only seen this word in historical novels set before 1700, in actual writings from that time, in fantasy with a pre-industrial setting, and in the writings of recreationists, such as the Society for Creative Anachronism. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:20

2 Answers 2

  • A "good trencherman" is a person who eats a lot, and does so actively, relatively quickly, and with pleasure. In so far as the quality of food is described by this term at all, the suggestion is of good but plain food. The term is derived from trencher, originally a flat round loaf of bred used as a plate, more recently meaning a small flat round plate or serving dish such as a cheeseboard. This term is obsolete if not archaic.

  • A "hearty eater" is the modern equivalent for "good trencherman".

  • A "gourmand" is a person who greatly enjoys food, especially in fairly large quantities. Such a person prefers moderately high-quality food, but will also enjoy good plain food. A gourmand is not a picky eater.

  • A "gourmet" is a person who is knowledgeable about food and exacting in its quality. Such a person is a connoisseur of food (and possibly of wine as well). A gourmet will often be particular about chefs and recipes. Such a person may insist on expensive or elaborate food, but may eat only small portions.

  • A "glutton" is a person who eats to excess, often to a degree that endangers health. The term indicates a significantly negative judgement. Christian theology traditionally identifies "gluttony" as one of the "seven deadly sins".

The fictional character Nero Wolfe is portrayed as a mix of gourmand and gourmet.


It might sound a tad archaic, but it's certainly a word I would understand and be familiar with. I'd usually expect it as a simile; "He was eating like a trencherman." I do think it refers much more to quantity of food eaten than quality. I'd expect a trencherman to be putting away a lot of honest, simple fare, like cheese, bread, etc. A gourmand I'd expect to be eating a lot of high quality or fancy food. A glutton would be a person who eats to excess; it has a much more negative connotation.

  • Thank you @Showsni, but glutton is a rather old-fashioned word in this realm in my opinion; although I couldn't find out how the words "trencherman" and "gourmand" differ in meaning while as I understood one of them excesses in eating too much and the other emphasizes pickiness. Please tell me more about their nuance. :)
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:15

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