single word requests - "Taste" is to "flavor" as "touch" and "sight" are to what?

  • Albert Renshaw

    For the senses, we have:

    • flavor for taste
    • aroma/odor/scent for smell
    • sound for hearing
    • ____? for touch/feel
    • ____? for sight/see

    So one tastes a flavor, smells an aroma, hears a sound, feels a(n) _____, and sees a(n) _____. For the former, part of me wants to say texture, but I feel that is too specific; for the latter, I want to use visual or sight, but but does that make sense, seeing a visual or a sight?

  • Answers
  • John Lawler

    The sense verbs are an interesting paradigm. English has three types of sense verb (with a lot of overlap), and a number of derived nouns. Two of the verb classes differ in whether they're volitional, and the other one is an experiential sense with special "Flip" syntax.

    One type of verb is the Non-Volitional: hear, see, smell, taste, touch/feel
    Another is the Volitional: listen, look, smell, taste, touch/feel

    Hearing: You listen to something on purpose, but you can hear it by accident.
    Vision: You look at something on purpose, but you can see it by accident.
    Verbs for the other three senses don't vary; you can smell, taste, or touch/feel on purpose or not.

    The third type is the Flip verbs: sound, look, smell, taste, feel.
    Again the three chemical/kinesthetic senses don't change, though only feel works as a Flip verb:

    That looks tasty. That sounds flat. That smells sour. That tastes delicious. That feels weird.

    The subject of a Flip verb is not the experiencer, but rather whatever is causing the sensation being experienced. The experiencer is normally not mentioned, but if it is, it occurs in a preposition phrase (most likely to me).

    Interestingly, only hearing — the sense used by language — gets to have 3 distinct sense verbs: hear, listen, and sound.

    As far as nouns go, one can speak of a look and a sight (respectively from look and see), as well as a glimpse, a vision, an appearance, a sighting, an image — and no doubt many more — for vision alone. This is what a thesaurus is for.

    Touch is underrepresented in nouns; adjectives are more likely. But one does speak of something having a feel, occasionally a feeling — a word which can be generalized to cover any metaphoric, psychological, or spiritual sensation, whether experienced or not, as in

    I had a feeling he was going to betray us.

  • jwpat7

    Besides already-mentioned feel (“A quality of an object experienced by touch”), feeling (“Sensation, particularly through the skin”), and texture (“The feel or shape of a surface or substance; the smoothness, roughness, softness, etc. of something”) (of which the latter is less applicable), consider the following.
    palpability, “The quality of being palpable”, that is, of being “capable of being touched, felt or handled; touchable, tangible”
    tactility, “The ability to feel pressure or pain through touch”

  • tchrist

    That word is sound. A flavor is what you taste, and aroma what you smell, and a sound is what you hear.

    EDIT: Ok, after your edit, it now calls for something’s feel. Or again, its touch.

  • Mohit

    I think John's answer is pretty complete. In short, I'd say these are the two words you're looking for:

    • see: look
    • touch/feel: feel

    The phrase "Look and feel" immediately comes to mind.

    I may be biased by working in the software industry - I'm not sure if this phrase is actually more widespread, but I imagine it evolved the other way around with the industry picking it up because of its usage elsewhere.

  • Mari-Lou A

    Touch/Feel the surface of an object. The sense of touch requires something physical and solid unlike smell and hearing and it is not interchangeable with feel which can also express a state of being as in "He feels lonely/hot/tired etc..." You cannot help but feel thirsty, hungry etc...

    Touch is a deliberate action; feel can be both a voluntary and involuntary action. So you need a different noun from surface. May I suggest feel a sensation? And I prefer @John Lawler's see an image, or see a vision.

  • Related Question

    single word requests - What is the subject of a survey called?
  • Hahaz

    For example, the subject of an interview is an interviewee.

    So, I was wondering what the subject of a survey might be.

  • Related Answers
  • Mitch

    despite the fact that most of us are inundated with surveys and they most likely use such a word in their communication, all I can think of is:


    (all the obvious constructions just don't sound like they are used despite their 'correctness'.)

  • Philoto

    Simply subject of survey. Or you can use surveyed object. There does not seem to be any one-word synonym for it. If you don't consider survivor as one :)

  • Matt Эллен

    Since someone who conducts and survey is a surveyor then someone or something being surveyed is the surveyed.

    Similarly to how the object of a tormentor is the tormented.

  • Jamie

    The subject of survey, in a sense, is surveyor, but the best suited word or the subject I would use if I made a survey is pollster.