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Hey Guys, I need your help! I was studying all the various ways to say "Food" and I came across… - Feed Post by REI0

Hey Guys, I need your help! I was studying all the various ways to say "Food" and I came across these: 食物, 食べ物, 食品. These are the most used if I got everything, but... Can you tell me what are the differences between them, the context when it's better use someone than others and precisely if they have meanings slightly different each one of them. I mean the most used to say the word "Food" generally, what is it? Thanks.

P.S. I'm having problems to find the equivalent in cantonese, if someone knows, I found only mandarin. ;)
posted by REI0

Comments 4

  • REI0
    I found
    食べ物‎ (たべもの, tabemono),
    食物‎ (しょくもつ, shokumotsu), (scientific) 食料‎ (しょくりょう, shokuryō),
    飯‎ (めし, meshi),
    食品‎ (しょくひん, shokuhin),
    (for animals) 餌‎ (えさ, esa)

    Here there are differencies with food for animals and the scientific term of it, but I looked also on wikitionary and It says that the three that I wrote in the first comment are just synonyms, so are we sure that there are not really differences?
  • AlexTheTutor
    This is a really interesting question. In fact, now I have the same question :)

    With my 11 days of Japanese experience, this is what I discovered. Hopefully, someone more experienced can confirm or deny :)

    食べ物‎ (たべもの) - a general word for food
    食物‎ (しょくもつ) - food and beverage, foodstuff, anything suitable for the consumption of food, nutriment, it can be combined with other kanji for example to say Food Pyramid 食物金字塔
    食物‎ (たべもの) - a shorter form of tabemono
    食い物 (くいもの) - ripped off, exploited, almost as if eaten by a person to gain at one's own personal expense, in fact 食い物 テロ
    食料‎ (しょくりょう) - the meaning seems to modify depending on any additional kanji added, almost acting like an adjective modifier, for example when combined with 品, 食料品 means grocery store, and when 自 is added to 食料, the resulting kanji tends to have a scientific meaning, such as 食料自給率 which roughly translates as the food self-sufficiency ratio, and mathematically is the ratio of number of calories domestically supplied by a nation divided by total number of calories supplied by that nation
    飯‎ (めし) - cooked rice, when combined with 御, the new word 御飯 means meal
    食品‎ (しょくひん) - because 品‎ means "thing", it seems that 食品‎ can act as a general adjective to modify other kanji to create a compound word, for example 食品安全 means food safety, 食品包装 means food packaging, but it seems that these new compound words are more commonly used in Chinese
    餌‎ (えさ) - bait, feed, animal feed

    I hope this was helpful.. and I hope someone more experienced can verify this. Thank you! :)
  • REI0
    Very useful! And as you say this topic is more important than it seems! That's why I don't wanna leave it just like this, but I want to focus on it and clear all my doubts about it before passing to another subject! Thanks Alex!
  • AlexTheTutor
    You're welcome :D Just to show everyone how new I am, I just learned that 御飯 (ごはん) means rice because 御 means honorable and 飯 (めし) can mean meal :D but I think 飯 in common usage can mean cooked rice still..?