Source: Your “palate” is the roof of your mouth, and by extension, your sense of taste.

I was reading Etymonline's entry for palatable {adj.}, which cites and derives from palate {noun}:

... Popularly considered the seat of taste, hence transferred meaning "sense of taste" (late 14c.), which also was in classical Latin. ...

Are the quotes above factually right about mouth anatomy (I ask NOT about language here)? Or was this an outdated wrong idea?

Footnote: Did the etymology become corrupt? I heed the Etymological Fallacy.


Anatomically speaking, the palate is the roof of the mouth, separating the oral cavity (mouth) from the nasal cavity (inner nose). While the palate may be sensitive to heat and spiciness (via the capsaicin receptor, for example), it does not contain any taste buds, which are located on the tongue, and are part of the taste-sensing system. The other part of this system, olfactory receptors, are responsible for sensing odors, and are mainly located in the nasal cavity, as well as partway down the back of the throat.

So, unfortunately, while your palate is figuratively the center of your sense of taste, in reality it has almost nothing to do with it.


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