garnish

verb
gar·​nish | \ ˈgär-nish How to pronounce garnish (audio) \
garnished; garnishing; garnishes

Definition of garnish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

b : to add decorative or savory touches to (food or drink) garnished the fish with parsley leaves
2 : to equip with accessories : furnish
3 : garnishee

garnish

noun

Definition of garnish (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : something (such as lemon wedges or parsley) used to decorate or flavor food or drink
3a : an unauthorized fee formerly extorted from a new inmate of an English jail
b : a similar payment required of a new worker

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Choose the Right Synonym for garnish

Verb

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

Did You Know?

Verb

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.

Examples of garnish in a Sentence

Verb

Chocolate curls garnished the cake. a chef who never served any dish without first garnishing it

Noun

added a garnish of parsley to the plate before serving it
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If serving hot, spoon a touch of basil oil on top, and garnish with shaved Parmesan and crostini. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Olives, capers add extra touch to Pastiche's ratatouille," 9 Apr. 2018 Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with cilantro. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Chrissy Teigen Is Cooking Some of Her Favorite Recipes on Instagram," 18 Dec. 2018 Place dip in a serving bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and remaining walnuts. Tia Keenan, WSJ, "The Cheese You Need Right Now," 7 Sep. 2018 Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with nasturtium leaf. Anne Brockhoff, kansascity, "Is your cocktail in season? Bartenders letting gardens dictate what's in your glass," 24 Apr. 2018 Strain over fresh ice in a Poco Grande glass and garnish with an orange slice and cherry. For Kentucky Derby Festival, The Courier-Journal, "Make these classic Kentucky Derby Festival cocktails at home," 18 Apr. 2018 Spoon pork and some juices over squash and garnish with sliced scallions. Amiel Stanek, Bon Appetit, "Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder with Butternut Squash," 19 Mar. 2018 Portion soup into four bowls and garnish with a few parsley leaves. Ashleigh Spitza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Soups for a cause fight the winter doldrums," 10 Mar. 2018 Transfer cherries to a bowl, top with crumble, and garnish with sliced almonds. Health.com, "3 Desserts You Can Make With Zero Added Sugar," 27 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The texture is sublime, and garnishes of fresh cilantro and tangy lime zest-yogurt add a pop of color and creaminess. Ashleigh Spitza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Soups for a cause fight the winter doldrums," 10 Mar. 2018 U-Bet Chocolate Syrup 1 whole egg Cinnamon, grated for garnishMethod Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Fox News, "Shake up your egg nog," 22 Dec. 2012 Turning this basic formula into a sheet-pan meal is a cinch: Just stick another pan of veggies in the oven at the same time, and add some herbs and crunchy peanuts as garnish. Melissa Clark, The Seattle Times, "How to make sheet-pan suppers without the meat," 1 Oct. 2018 Both skid garnishes are the same color as the body instead of black like the other MDX models. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Love the hardware, hate the UI: The Acura MDX Sport Hybrid," 13 Dec. 2018 Lost Lake is geeky, with complex tiki drinks, an unrelenting theme, and plenty of banana dolphin garnishes. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "These Are the World's Best Bars, Says Tales of the Cocktail," 23 July 2018 No mere garnish, the custard is baked right into the apple base. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "A Luscious, Low-Maintenance Alternative to Apple Pie," 21 Nov. 2018 Go heavy on the garnishes: Slice a bagful of lemons into wheels and wedges and grab a few bunches of fresh herbs. Marian Bull, GQ, "—Peter Meehan, Author Of An Upcoming Barbecue Book And Former Editor Of," 27 June 2018 Makes 1 cocktail 2 tablespoons fresh corn kernels ¾ ounce honey ¾ ounce lemon juice 2 ounces gin 1 wheel corn cob, for garnishInstructions: Muddle corn, honey and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Sweet Corn Bee’s Knees cocktail," 11 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of garnish

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for garnish

Verb

Middle English garnishen "to equip, decorate," borrowed from Anglo-French garniss-, present stem of garnir, warnir "to give notice, warn, instruct, give legal summons, provide (for), equip, trim, decorate," going back to Old Low Franconian *warnjan-, variant or reduction of West Germanic *warnōjan- "to make aware" — more at warn

Noun

derivative of garnish entry 1

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Statistics for garnish

Last Updated

5 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for garnish

The first known use of garnish was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for garnish

garnish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of garnish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

garnish

noun

English Language Learners Definition of garnish (Entry 2 of 2)

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

garnish

verb
gar·​nish | \ ˈgär-nish How to pronounce garnish (audio) \
garnished; garnishing

Kids Definition of garnish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to add decorations or seasoning (as to food)

garnish

noun

Kids Definition of garnish (Entry 2 of 2)

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

garnish

transitive verb
gar·​nish | \ ˈgär-nish How to pronounce garnish (audio) \

Legal Definition of garnish

1 : to subject (property or money) to garnishment
2 : to seek satisfaction of (a debt) through garnishment — compare attach, levy

History and Etymology for 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

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