garnish

verb
gar·​nish | \ ˈgär-nish \
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

It was paired with orange blossom honey ice cream and garnished with fennel pollen meringue kisses and a glittery honey sauce. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "11 dishes to try before Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival ends," 22 May 2018 While performing this duty, prosecutors said, Franklin concocted a scheme that involved money being garnished from city funds in the names of her relatives. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Former Detroit payroll employee: I stole $265K from city," 15 May 2018 Serve chilled, garnished with the remaining 1 tablespoon shallot and the parsley. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Ceviche with Mango and Black-Eyed Peas," 25 Apr. 2018 Strain into a coupe glass and serve up, garnished with a fresh orange mint leaf. Anne Brockhoff, kansascity, "Is your cocktail in season? Bartenders letting gardens dictate what's in your glass," 24 Apr. 2018 Breakfast Republic is gearing up for Easter Sunday with specialty drinks like The Peep Show Mocha, crafted from espresso, milk, marshmallow syrup, mocha, whipped cream and garnished with a Peeps candy. Carolina Gusman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "76 local restaurants will be hoppin' with breakfast, lunch and dinner specials on Easter Sunday," 27 Mar. 2018 Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired. Fox News, "Chef Mark Bailey's Last-Minute Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner!," 14 Feb. 2018 Serve immediately, garnished with basil and Parmesan. Marian Cooper Cairns, Country Living, "Chicken Meatball and Vegetable Noodle Soup," 5 Feb. 2018 Stir gently to combine, then garnish with a half slice of orange. Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Throw a Laid-Back Holiday Party at Home, from the Team at A Summer Day Cafe," 6 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Serve in a tall glass with ice and garnish with an apple star cutout. Jennifer Mcclellan, USA TODAY, "6 colorful July 4th recipes to make your party sparkle," 3 July 2018 Grate fresh cinnamon on top, garnish with mint springs and a cinnamon stick. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "Mocktail recipes: How to make tasty non-alcoholic drinks for your Fourth of July party," 3 July 2018 Cook for 10 minutes, remove from heat and garnish with cilantro. 5. New York Times, "The Healthy Dish Alek Wek Makes to Stay Energized," 4 June 2018 Follow the recipe as directed, omitting the ice and garnish. SI.com, "Spiked Arnold Palmer," 25 Jan. 2018 Top with sparkling water and garnish with grapefruit wedges, cilantro sprigs, and sliced jalapeño. Marian Cooper Cairns, Country Living, "Grapefruit Ranch Water," 2 Nov. 2017 For the garnish, slice the red pepper and the green tips of the scallions into thin long strips and place in ice water. Nancy Miller, The Courier-Journal, "He never gets tired of the Hot Brown, but chef at The Brown Hotel is always looking ahead," 20 Mar. 2018 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

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

11 Jan 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 \
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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