When to Use Palate, Palette, and Pallet

Painter's palette
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The nouns palate, palette, and pallet are homophones: they are pronounced similarly but have different meanings.

  • The noun palate refers to the roof of the mouth or the sense of taste.
  • The noun palette refers to an artist's paint board or a range of colors.
  • The noun pallet is a straw-filled mattress or a hard bed.

Examples

  • Egypt's senior archaeologist recently discovered that King Tutankhamen was born with a cleft palate and a clubfoot.
  • Walt Disney's Pinocchio paraded the studio's early perfection of the cartoon form: subtle character delineation, a rich color palette, and an inside knowledge of boyhood traumas.
  • In one of the more lurid fairy tales, ogres chop off the legs and arms of a woman to make her body fit a pallet.
  • "Percy Painter, a promising but penniless portraitist, might possibly profit were he to pick up, perhaps procure, (1) a plentiful patron with a palate for portraiture, (2) a palette with pigments properly primed, and (3) a pretty person pleasingly prepared to pose pleasantly on his paltry pallet." (Robert Oliver Shipman, A Pun My Word: A Humorously Enlightened Path to English Usage. Rowman & Littlefield, 1991)