palate, palette, or pallet?

Feeling quizzical today?

I am.

Here’s a trio of terms that tend to trick the tongue and perplex the pen …

  • palate
  • palette
  • pallet

If you can’t match the following definitions with the words above, I have a fun exercise for you that I came up with so I can remember the spelling of each.

  • a wooden bed or flat platform onto which goods are loaded
  • the roof of your mouth or sense of taste
  • a flat board an artist mixes paint on or a range of colors

Take a guess, and then scroll down to find out how I remember these rascally words.

Palate: the roof of your mouth or sense of taste

(spelled plate with an a added)

“My palate is best served when I use a plate.”


Pallet: a wooden bed or a flat platform onto which goods are loaded

(Ma Mallet and Pa Pallet are a team)

“Bring me that mallet so I can take apart this pallet.”


Palette: a flat board an artist mixes paint on or a range of colors

(pal-ette smacks of French, well, because it is)

“The French artist was mixing paints on a palette while wearing a French barette.”

Photo by Jennifer Rensel via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Jennifer Rensel via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Genius way to remember the differences! This really helps because I always have to look groups of words like this up in the dictionary.

    • MaryJane says:

      Good morning Winnie! How are you?

      • Winnie Nielsen says:

        Good morning Mary Jane. I am doing great. Did you get the information I sent Brian last week in an email that I will be in Idaho near Couer d’Alene July 24 and 25? Yep, plane ticket, lodging, and rental car all reserved and paid for so I am officially Idaho bound!!! Whoop!! I am hoping you have some business need to be at your store one of those two days so I could meet you!! Is there any chance?? I am so excited to be coming your way and very much looking forward to seeing your store!!

        • MaryJane says:

          Let’s stay in touch and yes, I’ll be there one way or the other. Sooooooooo looking forward to meeting you in person.

          • Winnie Nielsen says:

            Whoop!!! Whoop!!! That is fabulous!!! I want to meet you in person so much too!! It will be great fun. Shall I contact you through Brian’s email as we get into July?? I can be flexible as to which day would be best for you. Yippeeee!!!!!!

          • MaryJane says:

            Yes, through Brian would be dandy.

  2. Eileen V Widman says:

    I loved this exercise! Maybe now I will remember and spell check can take a hike! I think spell check has only one version.

  3. Pingback: Sensory Overload | Raising Jane Journal

  4. Anne Wampler says:

    This was lots of fun and yes it made me put on my thinking cap for sure!!! Thank you

  5. Thanks, Darlin’. I do so appreciate your awareness and respect for words, punctuation and diction in general. As a former English teacher, I look for the ease of a well-composed sentence and rest nicely when I read one. You’re a leader in a hundred different areas. Keep going!

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Oh, honey

who among us northern gals

hasn’t secretly bid her tongue to slip

effortlessly into that sweet southern nectar

known as a d-r-a-w-l.

Or, should I say,

d … r … a … w … l …

That’s right, you have to slow it down,

stretch every syllable out a little bit m-o-r-e,

maybe even summon an extra syllable or two.

Just for effect.


Lil’l Southern Belles by Hamilton Hamilton, 1894, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Well, in case you’d like to try your tongue at a tantalizing twang

(you know, in the car while you’re driving alone, in the shower where no one can hear … ),

start with this word:


No, not just mabalane all squished together …

Like this:

maa … buh … layyyn

That’s it!

The funny thing about this word is that it’s really an obscure term that comes to us from South Africa, meaning “a clerk, a secretary; a person whose work includes the keeping of written records.”

It’s not really the definition that matters, though, it’s the way it sounds rolling from your lips.

Master the word mabalane, and soon you’ll be hollering “y’all!”

with the best of those silver-tongued southern belles.


Vivian Leigh in Gone with the Wind courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Those of us girls from the South don’t know what you are talking about! We drawl thing? We think y’all talk funny. Hahahaha!!! G.R.I.T.S= Girls Raised in the South!!

  2. bobbie from clemmons, nc says:

    How about a Pittsburgh born and raised girl living in the South for 35 years. Now that’s an accent not to mess with. Southwestern PA twang mixed with Southern Drawl.Totally mixed up girl. LOL

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