De gustibus non est disputandum

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De gustibus non est disputandum is a Latin maxim meaning "In matters of taste, there can be no disputes" (literally "about tastes, it must not be disputed/discussed").[1][2] The implication is that everyone's personal preferences are merely subjective opinions that cannot be "right" or "wrong," so they should never be argued about as if they were. Sometimes the phrase is expanded as De gustibus et coloribus... referring to tastes and colors. The phrase is most commonly rendered in English as "There is no accounting for taste" (or "There is no accounting for tastes").[3]

The phrase is quoted by Mitya in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.

The phrase is misquoted in Act I of Anton Chekhov's play The Seagull. The character Shamrayev conflates it with the phrase de mortuis nil nisi bonum (in the alternate form: de mortuis, aut bene aut nihil: "of the dead, either [speak] good or [say] nothing"), resulting in "de gustibus aut bene, aut nihil", "Let nothing be said of taste but what is good."[4]

It is deliberately mistranslated in Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, in which the narrator states, "De gustibus non disputandum est—that is, there is no disputing against Hobby-Horses; and for my part, I seldom do."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "De gustibus non est disputandum". The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002
  2. ^ "de gustibus non est disputandum". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
  3. ^ Bartlett, John (1992). Familiar Quotations (16 ed.). Boston: Little, Brown. p. 118. ISBN 0-316-08277-5. 
  4. ^ Chekhov, Anton (1997). "Introduction". The Seagull. Trans. by Stephen Mulrine. London: Nick Hern Books Ltd. pp. xvii. ISBN 1-85459-193-2. 

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