Taste, palate, relish, gusto, zest are comparable when they mean a liking for or an enjoyment of something because of qualities that give the sense of taste a pleasurable sensation or that produce comparably pleasant mental or aesthetic impressions.
Taste (see also TASTE 1 ) may imply a liking that is either natural or acquired; the term is often used to designate a deep-seated or ingrained longing for something that lies behind one’s predilection for it, one’s bent to it, one’s aptitude for it, or a predisposition to enjoy one thing more than another.
More often taste refers to a liking that is based upon an understanding of peculiar excellences, especially aesthetic excellences, and that gives one a more or less discerning appreciation of a thing’s beauty or perfection (as of form, design, and color) or grace and dignity and consequently greater enjoyment of it.
In this sense taste is often so close to another sense of taste , namely, the power of discriminating aesthetic judgment, that the two meanings tend to overlap. In the first case, however, taste is not an abstraction but a concrete thing referable to an individual or a group of individuals.
In the latter sense taste is an abstraction used commonly without reference to individuals. In general it implies a capacity for discerning true excellence and the setting up of standards whereby all may be taught to appreciate the excellence they discern; sometimes it denotes the body of standards so set up.
Palate may imply either the literal physical sensation or sense of taste or a corresponding intellectual reaction and then suggest pleasure afforded the mind.
Relish often suggests a more distinct or a more exciting flavor in the thing that evokes enjoyment or liking; but especially it tends to imply a keener or more personal gratification than taste .
Gusto can imply either the hearty relish with which one sometimes may attack a meal, execute a piece of work, or go about the performance of an act (as a task or duty), or a quality in the thing which is executed or in the act which is performed that indicates vital or enthusiastic interest, keen delight, and intense imaginative or emotional energy in the doing of it.
Zest , like gusto , applies either to the spirit in which one approaches something one likes to do, make, or encounter or the quality imparted to the thing done, made, or envisioned as a result of this spirit. In contrast with gusto it suggests eagerness, avidity, or a perception of a thing’s piquancy or peculiar flavor rather than a hearty appetite indicative of abounding energy.