1 of 2


: a person who prepares food for eating
: a technical or industrial process comparable to cooking food
also : a substance so processed


2 of 2


cooked; cooking; cooks

transitive verb

: to prepare (food) for eating by a heating process
Cook the vegetables over low heat for 10 minutes.
The fish was cooked in a wine sauce.
He cooked dinner for his guests.
: concoct, fabricate
usually used with up
cooked up a scheme
: to alter (something, such as records) with the intention of deceiving or misleading : falsify, doctor
The point is that every country's numbers are the result of a specific set of testing and accounting regimes. Everyone is cooking the data, one way or another. Alexis C. Madrigal
see also cook the books
: to subject (something) to the action of heat or fire during preparation
Agents discovered a recipe for cooking meth at his lab … Andrew E. Serwer

intransitive verb

: to prepare food for eating especially by means of heat
We're too busy to cook tonight.
I enjoy cooking for friends.
: to undergo the action of being cooked
The rice is cooking now.
: occur, happen
She tried to find out what was cooking in the committee.
: to perform, do, or proceed well
The jazz quartet was cooking along.
The party cooked right through the night.
cookable adjective
cook one's goose
: to make one's failure or ruin certain

Example Sentences

Noun the hearty meals prepared by the cook at summer camp Verb Cook the onions over low heat. She cooked a great meal. The fish was cooked in a white wine sauce. Carrots can be cooked, but they are often eaten raw. We're too busy to cook at home. He enjoys cooking on the weekends. The rice is still cooking, but it will be ready in 10 minutes. There's something cooking, but he won't say what. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
With their drinking water – the river – salty, many Bailique residents had no choice but to use salty water to wash clothes, bathe, cook, and brush their teeth, an unpleasant and unhealthy situation. Fabiano Maisonnave And Eraldo Peres, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Nov. 2022 Specifically, enough money to tip our two hard-working ski guides, as well as the cook, who’d been making us delicious meals morning and night, and the hut caretaker, who’d been pre-heating the sauna and shoveling the path to the outhouse. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, 10 Nov. 2022 This high-end toaster and panini press will make winter mornings warm and cozy, and will inspire the cook in your life (or the person who only knows how to make toast). Anika Reed, USA TODAY, 1 Nov. 2022 Due to cloudy water at the O.B. Curtis plant in late July, the city was under a boil water notice before the plant’s failure in August, leaving residents without safe water to brush their teeth, cook, drink or wash dishes. Amy Simonson, CNN, 31 Oct. 2022 Working in batches, add chicken in a single layer in air fryer basket; cook, turning once, until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of thighs registers 165°, 12 to 14 minutes. Janet Mccracken, Peoplemag, 30 Oct. 2022 His resume also includes street cook, restaurant owner, catering chef and barbecue entrepreneur. Mary Colurso |, al, 23 Sep. 2022 Then the wives clean, cook, shop and wait at the door with a drink and a smile when their husbands return. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 19 Sep. 2022 Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Shreyas Laddha, Hartford Courant, 9 Sep. 2022
Add sage and thyme, and cook, stirring often, one minute. al, 20 Nov. 2022 Thoroughly cook all game to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating it. Arkansas Online, 19 Nov. 2022 Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and cook, 10 minutes. Jennifer Nickle, Men's Health, 18 Nov. 2022 There are many different ways to cook a turkey, from basting to frying, but frying often yields the juiciest turkey out of all the cooking methods. Michaela Leung, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2022 Pick up a brined and ready-to-cook Slagel Family Farms turkey, biscuit stuffing and mashed potatoes from Lou’s Backyard, caramelized pumpkin pie from Good Ambler and, to really set the mood, a curated playlist from adjoining music venue Thalia Hall. Lauryn Azu, Chicago Tribune, 11 Nov. 2022 Girls learned to cook and bake, to sew, to keep house, to not get too roughed up. The Indianapolis Star, 8 Nov. 2022 The solar battery has a small LED light that is enough to cook and eat by. Joshua Spodek, Time, 4 Nov. 2022 Quartaro started Gemma Foods in the pandemic, making fresh pasta for customers to order online, cook at home and serve with Gemma sauces. Journal Sentinel, 3 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cook.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English, from Old English cōc, from Latin coquus, from coquere to cook; akin to Old English āfigen fried, Greek pessein to cook

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cook was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near cook

Cite this Entry

“Cook.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

cook 1 of 2


: one who prepares food for eating


2 of 2


: to prepare food for eating especially by the use of heat
: to go through the process of being cooked
the rice is cooking now
: to think up
cook up a scheme
: to go on : happen
what's cooking

Biographical Definition


biographical name

James 1728–1779 English navigator and explorer

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