Can “half-cooked meat” mean that half the meat is cooked and the rest is raw or does it mean that the meat is not cooked enough?

enter image description here

Source: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/ribeye-steak-beef-on-white-background-1211899693

enter image description here

Source: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/medium-cooked-tuna-steak-on-plate-500278291

  • 2
    Not ambiguous to a native speaker, who knows in what situations the phrase is used. A dictionary will tell you that. Anyhow, if you somehow managed to only cook half of a piece of meat, leaving the other half raw, then the whole piece is definitely not cooked enough, so the ambiguity disappears. Sep 18, 2021 at 10:04

1 Answer 1


It would mean the meat has only had about half the required cooking. What is "required" may be a matter of opinion.

Waiter! This steak is only half cooked. I ordered "well done steak". Take it back to the chef and give it another 10 minutes on the grill!

When the chicken is half cooked, take it out the oven and baste it with the juices. Then return it to the oven for the remaining time.

Meat that is intentionally left pink in the middle is called "rare" (and there are variations: medium rare, very rare, and well done (=not rare at all)

In your images, the tuna steak would be better described as "medium rare tuna steak on a plate". And the photo-edited image of a steak that was completely uncooked on the left and completely cooked on the right is "half cooked and half uncooked steak" but the actual object is very unlikely to to exist (who cooks a steak only on the right??)

  • It’s just a fiction. Can’t I omit “half uncooked”? Sep 18, 2021 at 11:11
  • 2
    In the first picture? It is an odd thing, so more explanation makes it clearer. If you just say "A half-cooked steak" I'd assume you meant a steak that has only half the required amount of cooking, since that type of "half-cooked steak" is much more common than the "cooked on the right" type.
    – James K
    Sep 18, 2021 at 11:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .