cav·​i·​ar ˈka-vē-ˌär How to pronounce caviar (audio)
 also  ˈkä-
variants or less commonly caviare
: processed salted roe of large fish (such as sturgeon)
: something considered too delicate or lofty for mass appreciation
usually used in the phrase caviar to the general
: something considered the best of its kind

Did you know?

The eggs, or roe, of sturgeon are called caviar. Preserved with salt, caviar is usually eaten as an appetizer. Most true caviar is produced in Russia and Iran, from fish taken from the Caspian and Black seas. The best grade, beluga, is prepared from large black or gray eggs; fresh beluga caviar is relatively scarce and thus expensive. Lesser grades are from smaller, denser eggs. In the U.S., the roe of salmon, whitefish, lumpfish, and paddlefish is sometimes sold under the name caviar.

Examples of caviar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the morning, wake up to a caviar and Champagne breakfast in bed. Devorah Lev-Tov, Robb Report, 13 Feb. 2024 Filling cannelloni with sweet lobster meat, burying it under a rich, frothy sauce américaine and then piling caviar on top is a wonderfully un-Italian idea. Pete Wells, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 This year’s festival welcomed 2,200 guests and had around 90 events, which involved everything from flying on a private jet to Jamaica with Ripert for lunch at GoldenEye (that's the $5K ticket item), to deep-sea fishing with Emeril Lagasse, to multi-course caviar and truffle dinners. Devorah Lev-Tov, Condé Nast Traveler, 5 Feb. 2024 Order the Regis Ova Caviar Bites, a Be Bubbly specialty of creme fraiche toasts topped with dill, kettle chips and, of course, caviar. Catherine Garcia, theweek, 30 Jan. 2024 Twice, a neighbor’s caviar was wrongly delivered to their house. Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times, 22 Jan. 2024 Boaters would most likely prefer the raw bar, caviar and other seafood selections best, though. Josie Gulliksen, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Sidle up to the giant slab of black marble at the center and order some caviar and a snifter of Champagne. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, 16 Jan. 2024 Interactive Raw Bars In addition to beautiful displays of shrimp, crab, caviar and all the accompanying sauces, many hosts will be adding an interactive element to their raw bar with a chef on-site to shuck oysters and provide a lesson in seafood. Colleen Sullivan, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'caviar.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


earlier cavery, caviarie, from obsolete Italian caviari, plural of caviaro, from Turkish havyar

First Known Use

circa 1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of caviar was circa 1560

Dictionary Entries Near caviar

Cite this Entry

“Caviar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also caviare
ˈkav-ē-ˌär How to pronounce caviar (audio)
 also  ˈkäv-
: the salted eggs of a large fish (as the sturgeon) usually served as an appetizer

More from Merriam-Webster on caviar

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