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

Mix radicchio and frisee in bowl with a bit of dressing, place on plate and continue to garnish with figs, walnuts, bleu cheese crumbles & Mousse. Krystyna Chávez, Marie Claire, "9 Easy Kentucky Derby Recipe Ideas You Can Whip Up In No Time," 3 May 2019 Applying one to several large spoonfuls of chilled rock shrimp yielded one dish, garnished with a few bits of Meyer lemon and specks of Aleppo chile; applying it to arctic char, pieces of orange, and cilantro yielded another. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Is Serving Raw Meat And Fish A Dinner Party Taboo?," 12 Apr. 2019 Similarly, garnishing or topping with chilies will give the drink a spicy kick. Leah Silverman, Town & Country, "How to Make the Perfect Margarita," 11 Apr. 2019 Edie Parker’s confetti ornaments are a great keepsake gift, while Coach’s leather ornaments can garnish your handbag well after Christmas. Anny Choi, Vogue, "Christmas Tree Ornaments So Fabulous You’ll Want to Admire Them All Year Long," 5 Dec. 2018 To finish, garnish with lots of mint and thyme; dust with Chartreuse powder. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "This Mad Science Experiment Is the Key to the Perfect Mint Julep," 3 May 2019 Finally, garnish your meatless tacos with diced avocado and a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. Terri Milligan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Keep your cool: No-heat cooking keeps you comfortable and the food fresh," 5 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The cocktail is made using Woodford Reserve Rye, ginger ale, St. Germain, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, vanilla and a Luxardo cherry skewer for garnish. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Bottoms up! 6 ways to celebrate National Bourbon Day in Louisville," 11 June 2019 Pair these with a blood-orange mimosa ($9) or signature Bloody Mary with choice of vodka and jumbo shrimp garnish ($16). Georgann Yara, azcentral, "50-plus restaurants for Mother’s Day brunch, dinner and deals in Phoenix," 7 May 2018 Restaurants and bakeries are using the Foodini to make intricate desserts and garnishes, and a home version will be available in a couple of years. Jesse Newman, WSJ, "Six Technologies That Could Shake the Food World," 2 Oct. 2018 Spoon the fried capers over the gratin, garnish with fresh dill, and serve warm with lemon wedges. Yotam Ottolenghi, sacbee, "Salmon – want it easy, or want it epic?," 5 June 2018 Reserve 1 tablespoon of the finger lime pearls for garnish and fold the rest of the pearls into the aioli. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Smoked Salmon Sandwiches With Finger Lime Aioli," 26 Apr. 2018 Stir the mixture, garnish with the lemon twist, and serve. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Throw the best Kentucky Derby party with tips from the guy who knows - 'America's CEO' Tim Laird," 5 Apr. 2018 Serve with your choice of garnishes and warm tortillas or tortilla chips. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, "Comfort me with queso," 23 Jan. 2018 Black Diamond Swizzle Cruzan Rum is the perfect go-to for the occasion, with it's strawberry garnish and bitter red liqueur. Molly Dodd, Fox News, "9 festive cocktails to beat the heat this Labor Day," 5 Sep. 2016

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

14 Jun 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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