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 Pour in a tall glass and garnish with a grapefruit peel. Amanda Schuster, Forbes, "How To Make Cocktails Purple, Demonstrated With Prince-Inspired Recipes," 15 Apr. 2021 Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, garnish with the parsley and serve. Washington Post, "Hearty winter vegetables are at the root of this red wine chicken stew," 21 Jan. 2021 Give the salad a quick stir and garnish with additional tarragon and parsley before serving. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Broccoli Salad with Pickled Cranberries and Herb Yogurt Dressing," 30 Dec. 2020 With some variations, the basic process is to muddle a sliced or quartered lime with sugar, add ice cubes, add the cachaça, stir, and garnish with lime. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "What Is Cachaça? Get to Know the Spirit Behind Rio’s Caipirinhas," 20 Aug. 2020 Ladle the soup into warm serving bowls and garnish with the pesto, crumbled cheese and chopped pistachios, if desired. Meredith Deeds Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Homemade tomato soup, with a few garnishes, takes mealtime from old standby to new favorite," 21 Apr. 2021 Arrange the spears on a platter, pour the vinaigrette on top, and garnish with scallions or spring onions. BostonGlobe.com, "Recipe: Grilled asparagus with creamy garlic vinaigrette goes with everything from tofu to steak," 13 Apr. 2021 Slide or flip the frittata onto a plate, garnish with Parmesan and more cracked black pepper, if desired, slice and serve with the balsamic asparagus. Washington Post, "Fluffy carbonara frittata, a riff on the classic pasta," 15 Apr. 2021 Do that five or six times and then garnish with a celery stalk, and perhaps something ostentatious like a poached shrimp or a cheeseburger, and enjoy. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, "How to Make a Perfect Bloody Mary, the Ultimate Brunch Cocktail," 15 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If you are used to thinking of parsley as a garnish, the full cup called for here might seem like a typo, but go with it. Washington Post, "Spring produce snags the spotlight in this nutritious frittata," 29 Apr. 2021 Express lemon peel over the drink, then wrap around a blueberry and thread onto a skewer, for garnish. Amanda Schuster, Forbes, "How To Make Cocktails Purple, Demonstrated With Prince-Inspired Recipes," 15 Apr. 2021 Give or take a seasonal garnish or ingredient, its regular menu is all about tradition and consistency. Washington Post, "L’Auberge Chez Francois is ready for its close-up, yet again," 9 Apr. 2021 This simple, classic and aromatic garnish can be dropped in a drink or perched on the glass’ rim. Rebekah Peppler, Los Angeles Times, "How to garnish a cocktail? Here’s your guide to the basics — with a twist," 2 Apr. 2021 Pépin included, of course. Storage: The soup can be refrigerated, without the herb-garlic garnish, for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months. Washington Post, "Jacques Pépin’s vegetable soup recipe is satisfying, simple cooking at its best," 21 Mar. 2021 These are 100% cotton muslin bags with drawstring tops for a bouquet garnish. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Potpourri For Your Home," 9 Mar. 2021 Brunoise is often used as a beautiful garnish for the top of a soup or a stew. Katy Severson, chicagotribune.com, "How to make basic knife cuts," 1 Mar. 2021 If your celery root happens to come with leaves attached, chop them as a nice green garnish. Washington Post, "Mashed celery root shines in this bright vegan side dish," 20 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for garnish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for garnish

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Garnish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/garnish. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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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