1

garnish

play
verb gar·nish \ˈgär-nish\

Definition of garnish

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  decorate, embellishb :  to add decorative or savory touches to (food or drink) garnished the fish with parsley leaves

  3. 2 :  to equip with accessories :  furnish

  4. 3 :  garnishee

garnish was our Word of the Day on 05/29/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of garnish in a sentence

  1. Chocolate curls garnished the cake.

  2. a chef who never served any dish without first garnishing it

Did You Know?

Although we now mostly garnish food, the general application of the "decorate" meaning is older. The link between embellishing an object or space and adding a little parsley to a plate isn't too hard to see, but how does the sense relating to debtors' wages fit in? The answer lies in the word's Anglo-French root, garnir, which means "to warn or to equip." Before wages were garnished, the debtor would be served with a legal summons or warning. The legal sense of "garnish" now focuses on the taking of the wages, but it is rooted in the action of furnishing the warning.

Origin and Etymology of garnish

Middle English, from Anglo-French garniss-, stem of garnir to warn, equip, garnish, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German warnōn to take heed — more at warn


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of garnish

adorn, decorate, ornament, embellish, beautify, deck, garnish mean to enhance the appearance of something by adding something unessential. adorn implies an enhancing by something beautiful in itself. a diamond necklace adorned her neck decorate suggests relieving plainness or monotony by adding beauty of color or design. decorate a birthday cake ornament and embellish imply the adding of something extraneous, ornament stressing the heightening or setting off of the original a white house ornamented with green shutters, embellish often stressing the adding of superfluous or adventitious ornament. embellish a page with floral borders beautify adds to embellish a suggestion of counterbalancing plainness or ugliness. will beautify the grounds with flower beds deck implies the addition of something that contributes to gaiety, splendor, or showiness. a house all decked out for Christmas garnish suggests decorating with a small final touch and is used especially in referring to the serving of food. an entrée garnished with parsley

2

garnish

noun gar·nish

Definition of garnish

  1. 1 :  embellishment, ornament

  2. 2 :  something (such as lemon wedges or parsley) used to decorate or flavor food or drink

  3. 3a :  an unauthorized fee formerly extorted from a new inmate of an English jailb :  a similar payment required of a new worker

Examples of garnish in a sentence

  1. added a garnish of parsley to the plate before serving it

Origin and Etymology of garnish

derivative of 1garnish


First Known Use: 1596


GARNISH Defined for English Language Learners

1

garnish

play
verb gar·nish \ˈgär-nish\

Definition of garnish for English Language Learners

  • : to put something on (food) as a decoration; also : to be added as a decoration to (food)


2

garnish

noun gar·nish

Definition of garnish for English Language Learners

  • : something (such as small pieces of fruit, chopped herbs, etc.) that is put on food as a decoration


GARNISH Defined for Kids

1

garnish

play
verb gar·nish \ˈgär-nish\

Definition of garnish for Students

garnished

;

garnishing

  1. :  to add decorations or seasoning (as to food)


2

garnish

play
noun gar·nish

Definition of garnish for Students

  1. :  something used to add decoration or flavoring (as to food)


Law Dictionary

garnish

play
transitive verb gar·nish \ˈgär-nish\

Legal Definition of garnish

  1. 1 :  to subject (property or money) to garnishment

  2. 2 :  to seek satisfaction of (a debt) through garnishment — compare attach, levy

Origin and Etymology of garnish

Anglo-French garniss-, stem of garnir to garnish, give legal summons, warn, from Old French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German warnōn to take heed



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up garnish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

feeling or affected by lethargy

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • ludwig-richter-spring-has-arrived
  • Which is a synonym of upbraid?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ