When to use Palate, Palette, and Pallet

Palette full of artist's paint. Tatiana Kolesnikova/Moment/Getty Images

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.


  • 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)