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

Serve in cups, bowls and garnished with a bit of the diced bell peppers, diced cucumbers, minced garlic and green onion slices. Susan Selasky, ajc, "5 recipes to cool things down on hot days," 3 July 2018 Serve in cups, bowls and garnished with a bit of the diced bell peppers, diced cucumbers, minced garlic and green onion slices. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "5 recipes to cool things down on hot days," 27 June 2018 Pour into a martini glass and garnish with slivers of lemon peel if desired. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pear vodka, ginger liqueur flavor this Lake Park Bistro martini - You Asked for It," 18 June 2018 Pour everything into the glass and garnish with the lime wheel and whole strawberry on a cocktail pick. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Muddled Strawberry Margarita cocktail," 19 Feb. 2018 Serve garnished with cilantro, a little sour cream or a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Kathleen Purvis, charlotteobserver, "Stuck at home because of snow? Try this quick recipe using stuff in your cabinet.," 17 Jan. 2018 Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with parsley. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Spanish Potato Omelet," 17 Mar. 2017 Serve garnished with the radish and remaining mint leaves. Country Living, "Soup Recipes," 24 May 2011 Shake well, pour into glass, and garnish with fresh mint. Health.com, "6 Mocktail Recipes That Make Happy Hour Way Healthier," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The restaurant tries to dress up this cozy dish by using arugula as a garnish, a tomato vinaigrette as a seasoning and Anson Mills’ grits as the base. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Brunch Punch: Slate in Orlando's Dr. Phillips neighborhood," 13 July 2018 It is considered a delicacy and is often eaten as a garnish. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky is swimming with potential to take over the US caviar market," 28 June 2018 Stir in the scallion greens, cilantro leaves and sesame seeds, reserving some to scatter on top as a garnish, if desired, and serve. Emily Horton, charlotteobserver, "Four steps to making a great grain salad, every time," 19 June 2018 Would rather just have the raspberry that's sitting on this plate as garnish. USA TODAY, "Taste test: M&M's Crunchy Raspberry tops Crunchy Espresso, Crunchy Mint," 25 Apr. 2018 Slap a mint sprig on the back of your hand to release the aroma and add as a garnish. Kevin Hopper, idahostatesman, "Natural cocktail flavors abound with the use of a muddler | Idaho Statesman," 10 Apr. 2018 Transform the quintessential flavors of fall into this stunning cake complete with pecans as a garnish. Gena Knox, Country Living, "Apple-Cinnamon Layer Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting," 17 Oct. 2017 Some other tasty ideas: Chop up an avocado and use it as a garnish for black bean soup, mash it up into a sandwich spread for a healthier alternative to mayonnaise or simply scoop it straight from the skin! Rachel Morris, Woman's Day, "Eating This One Food Could Lower Your Bad Cholesterol," 7 Jan. 2015 Chinese food is really all about that anyway—using protein as a garnish. Meghann Foye, Redbook, "These Sweet Corn Pancakes Will Make You Excited for Summer," 7 May 2013

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

Transitive verb

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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Statistics for garnish

Last Updated

4 Oct 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

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