11 Different Ways To Say “Sweet” That Really Hit The Sweet Spot

If you have a sweet tooth, you might already know that July 7 is World Chocolate Day. But you don't have to wait for the holiday to celebrate your favorite bonbons. When it comes to talking about a pleasant, sugary taste, we tend to reach for the word sweet.

Sweet is a very, very old word, related to the Latin suāvis, meaning "pleasant." It can be used to describe not only something that tastes good, but anything that is agreeable to any of the senses: smell, sight, touch, sound. Sweet is even used to describe an attractive character or personality.

Because it has so many possible uses, sweet is often overused. To help you mix it up, we have found synonyms to capture all of the delightful meanings of sweet.

saccharine

Sweet is used to describe something that tastes of sugar. The technical term for something that contains sugar or tastes of sugar is saccharine. Saccharine means "very sweet to the taste; sugary," ultimately from the Greek sákkharon.

Saccharine can be used literally, to describe something that tastes of sugar. For example:

 

  • The tiny frosted cake was saccharine and blandly vanilla.

It can also be used figuratively, to describe something "exaggeratedly sentimental."

 

  • Although it was a nice gesture, Patricia found the postcard from him a bit saccharine.

winsome

One of the less commonly used synonyms for sweet is winsome, "sweetly or innocently charming; winning; engaging." The word ultimately comes from the Old English wynn, meaning "joy." Winsome is used to describe an aspect of someone's character or personality, rather than how something tastes.

 

  • There was something winsome in the way she twirled her hair when she was nervous.

honeyed

A synonym for sweet with a bit of a negative figurative connotation—although not quite as markedly as others we will see—is honeyed. Honeyed literally means "containing, consisting of, or resembling honey," which is notably, sweet.

 

  • My aunt Bashaer makes the most delicious honeyed baklava for special holidays.

Honeyed is also used figuratively to mean "flattering or ingratiating" or "pleasantly soft."

 

  • The salesperson gave us a confident smile and said in a honeyed tone that he was making us a great offer.

luscious

As we noted, sweet can describe anything that delights the senses. A synonym that captures this sense of the word is luscious, "highly pleasing to the taste or smell."

 

  • As the actor walked offstage, her admirer handed her a bouquet of luscious red roses.

In other instances, luscious is used to mean "arousing desire." It's not hard to see how these two meanings are linked.

 

  • His lips were red and luscious.

cloying

Another word that can be used to describe something that is too sweet is cloying, "causing or tending to cause disgust or aversion through excess." It can also mean "overly ingratiating or sentimental." Like saccharine, cloying can describe a taste or a feeling.

 

  • Even though I drank the whole thing to be polite, I found the taste of the rosewater tea to be cloying.
  • The secretary had a cloying, overly eager personality that the consultant found grating.

redolent

Redolent is another less-common synonym for sweet. It means "having a pleasant odor; fragrant." As you may have guessed, redolent is used particularly to describe a sweet smell.

 

  • The Christmas tree farm was redolent, particularly in the morning when it was all damp with dew.

Today, the word redolent is most often used metaphorically, in the sense of "suggestive, reminiscent (of)", as in:

 

  • This place is redolent of a cabin my family used to visit when I was a child; it even has the same layout.

charming

The word charming is a lovely everyday synonym for sweet to describe someone's personality or character. Charming means "pleasing" or "delightful." (You can learn more about the magical origins of charm at our entry for the word.)

 

  • Nabil is so charming and thoughtful that he even remembered to buy my favorite snacks.

Someone who is charming is particularly good at using their sweetness to win other people over.

dulcet

If redolent is used to describe things that smell sweet, dulcet is used to describe things that sound sweet. Dulcet means "pleasant to the ear, melodious." It comes from the Latin dulcis, meaning "sweet." In fact, an archaic (no longer in use) meaning of dulcet is "sweet to the taste or smell."

 

  • You can hear the dulcet tones of the jazz band throughout the park.

mellifluous

Another synonym for sweet that is often used to describe how something sounds is mellifluous, "sweetly or smoothly flowing; sweet-sounding." The word comes from the Latin mellifluus, which literally translates to "full of flowing honey." (Sounds delicious.)

 

  • The radio DJ was known for his calming, mellifluous voice.

amiable

A straight-forward, everyday synonym for sweet that can be used to describe someone's personality is amiable, meaning "having or showing pleasant, good-natured personal qualities." Amiable ultimately comes from the Late Latin amīcābilis, meaning "friend, friendly." And that's exactly what amiable describes:

 

  • Sam had an amiable personality, and he was known at work for his laid-back approach.

Certainly sweetness is a good quality trait in a friend.

 

Are you on good terms with the terms amiable vs. amicable? Find out the difference here.

confection

So far, we have covered various synonyms for sweet as an adjective. But sweet can also be a noun, particularly in British English, meaning "a piece of candy." A slightly more sophisticated synonym for sweet in this sense is confection, "a sweet preparation of fruit or the like, as a preserve or candy."

 

  • The children pressed their faces up to the shop window to drool over the boxes of confections in the display.

We have only scratched the surface of all of the possible synonyms for sweet. If you want to explore even more, check out our entry for sweet here. But before you go, are you sure you have mastered the ones we just covered? Take a minute to review our word list of sweet synonyms here, and then take our quiz to check your knowledge.

 

Now see what's cooking with this article on chocolate and the delicious words that go along with it.