garnish

verb
gar·​nish | \ˈgär-nish \
garnished; garnishing; garnishes

Definition of garnish 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : decorate, embellish

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

Their 90 guests were greeted with a glass of champagne garnished with Provençale lavender, before being escorted to the vintage wooden benches laid out for the ceremony. John Dolan, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Couple Didn't Believe in Love at First Sight–Until It Happened to Them," 6 Aug. 2018 Summer squash goes with blue crab-stuffed pasta, garnished with cold pickles and sweet corn. Dana Mcmahan, The Courier-Journal, "How Louisville chefs re-imagine menus when you're just too hot to eat," 3 July 2018 After The Ceremony Ended , Garcetti removed his sport coat—a sleek urban take on the classic equestrian jacket, garnished with a gun-safety-orange flag on the lapel—and jumped into the back of the mayoral SUV. Chanan Tigay, GQ, "Eric Garcetti Is the Anti-Trump, Pro–Star Wars Man We Need," 12 June 2018 How is Cauldron different from rivals: Its unique ice-cream flavors, Ho said, include Sun Moon & Stars, a creamy blend of oolong, jasmine and green tea; and H2O Rose, a delicate floral flavor garnished with a coat of rose sugar. Hang Nguyen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Cauldron, home to the viral 'puffle cone' ice cream, opens first San Diego shop," 8 June 2018 Crab mac includes lump crab meat, tomatoes, baby spinach, and cheese sauce, garnished with snow crab claws. Caroline Szachnowski, BostonGlobe.com, "New England’s best summer foods," 2 May 2018 Expect harissa seasons carrots, triggerfish garnished with marcona almond, and lamb loin with farro tabouli—and don't skip the house dirty martini, made with pickled tomato juice. Stephanie Burt, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Best Restaurants in Charleston," 2 May 2018 Dessert is fresh pineapple garnished with shredded coconut. Susan Nicholson, ajc, "Seven Day Menu Planner," 24 Apr. 2018 Pour browned butter in skillet into separate bowl and reserve for garnishing. 5. Tan Vinh, The Seattle Times, "Fall into this Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe: creamy cauliflower soup," 16 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Preparing garnishes: Gently pull apart the bibb lettuce cups, wash, and dry. Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Throw a Laid-Back Holiday Party at Home, from the Team at A Summer Day Cafe," 6 Dec. 2018 The vesicles are popular in cocktails, as condiments, garnishes, and as an accent to fish. Nan Sterman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Branching out with new crops," 31 May 2018 Simply roast up your favorite combination of vegetables, then add a protein-packed garnish at the end. Melissa Clark, The Seattle Times, "How to make sheet-pan suppers without the meat," 1 Oct. 2018 Use a lemon zester to grate a few threads right off the root to make a pungent garnish for grilled fish, especially salmon and fresh tuna. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow and Prepare Horseradish Straight From Your Garden," 27 July 2018 The chef then takes the breast back to the kitchen to slice and arrange onto individual serving plates next to a garnish of cherries, turnips and frisee. Michael Bauer, SFChronicle.com, "Sorrel off to a stellar start in Pacific Heights," 6 July 2018 Bread and butter pickles and a garnish of crispy onions made each bite pop. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "Try one of these top 13 best-reviewed Louisville restaurants of 2018," 15 June 2018 Proof on Main, at Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel, features a julep where single-barrel bourbon is swizzled with ginger-lime cordial, and in addition to a mint garnish, a spice blend of clove, star anise, nutmeg and black pepper is torched atop. Carey Jones, Vogue, "The Many Mint Juleps of the Kentucky Derby," 5 May 2018 Author Kitty Morse will then lecture on how edible flowers can be elevated from a garnish to center stage of a meal. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Women generals topic of talk," 16 Mar. 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

29 Nov 2018

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 \
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 \

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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