/flay"veuhr/, n. Chiefly Brit.flavor.
* * *also spelled flavorin particle physics, property that distinguishes different members in the two groups of basic building blocks of matter, the quarks (quark) and the leptons (lepton). There are six flavours of subatomic particle within each of these two groups: six leptons (the electron, the muon, the tau, the electron- neutrino, the muon-neutrino, and the tau-neutrino), and six quarks (designated up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom).Flavour can change in particle reactions only through the agency of the weak force, as when, for example, a muon changes into an electron or a neutron (containing two down quarks and one up quark) transmutes into a proton (made from two up quarks and one down quark).Christine Suttonalso spelled flavorattribute of a substance that is produced by the senses of smell, taste, and touch (touch reception) and is perceived within the mouth.Tasting occurs chiefly on the tongue through the taste buds (taste bud). The taste buds are stimulated by four fundamental taste sensations—sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Substances can be tasted only when they are in water solutions, and if a substance is not in solution when taken into the mouth, it must be dissolved in saliva before it can be detected by the taste buds. The taste buds most sensitive to salty sensations are dispersed along the sides and front of the tongue. Taste buds sensitive to sweetness are concentrated on the tip of the tongue. Bitterness is detected at the rear of the tongue and sourness on the sides.The sense of smell involves the olfactory nerve endings in the upper part of the interior of the nose. Aromas can reach these nerves either directly through the nostrils, as in breathing, or indirectly up the back passageway from the mouth. Because of their remote location, the olfactory nerve endings are best stimulated by inhaling through the nose or swallowing if food is in the mouth. Odours are detected only when the material is in gaseous form—i.e., a dispersion of molecules in air. Disorders of smell greatly affect the ability to detect flavours.Touch (touch reception) sensations that contribute to taste originate in the nose, on the lips, and throughout the entire mouth and throat. The touch sensations relating solely to flavour are based on the chemical properties of the substance. Reactions induced by chemical properties include the coolness of peppermint, the “bite” of mustard and pepper, and the warmth of cloves.When a person consumes food, the simultaneous stimulation of the senses of taste, smell, and touch creates an immediate impression that causes him to accept the food and continue eating it or to reject it. Many foods such as bananas, berries, and other fruits, nuts, milk, and a few vegetables have flavours that make them highly acceptable in their natural, uncooked state. Other foods derive their flavour through cooking, seasoning, and flavouring or combinations of these. Preference for or avoidance of a particular flavour is a learned behaviour.
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