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

Blend until smooth, pour into glass and garnish with fresh mint and a small wedge of watermelon. Health.com, "6 Mocktail Recipes That Make Happy Hour Way Healthier," 12 July 2018 Yes, a margarita with all the colors (um, red, white and blue) of a Bomb Pop, garnished with ... a Bomb Pop. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "DFW restaurants get patriotic with red-white-and-blue creations for July 4," 29 June 2018 For a meal with a little Latin flair, duck into the chic and trendy Tequila 61 for king salmon tacos garnished with crispy fried onions, pineapple and chipotle tamarind sauce. Anchorage Daily News, "Searching for Anchorage’s finest bites? Think seafood," 2 May 2018 Most creditors are required to obtain a judgment and court order before they are allowed to garnish your wages. James Agnew, USA TODAY, "Dealing with debt: Understanding wage garnishment and how to avoid it," 12 Apr. 2018 When the Oregon Department of Revenue stepped up its enforcement and began garnishing money from Bowman's bank account in January 2012, Bowman changed his method of financial transactions. Maxine Bernstein, OregonLive.com, "Man who cites opposition to abortion for not paying taxes wins Round 1 in court," 12 Apr. 2018 Meanwhile, a library garnished with a Moroccan daybed and linen curtains only adds to the sleepy beachfront feels. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Chic beach bungalow in Montauk is perfect for a summer weekend," 2 July 2018 Thick slices of tomato, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, are carefully stacked one on top of another and garnished with lady peas, corn kernels and pods of fried okra. Bob Carlton, AL.com, "Ode to an Alabama classic, the Hot and Hot Tomato Salad," 1 May 2018 Give this bubbly Prosecco cocktail some springtime flair by garnishing it with edible flowers. Beth Lipton, Country Living, "Lillet Spritz," 2 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Have fun with garnishes, glassware One of the best things about fancy cocktails is the presentation. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "Mocktail recipes: How to make tasty non-alcoholic drinks for your Fourth of July party," 3 July 2018 The garnish: Combine creme fraiche and powdered sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, "4 recipes from now-closed Terra in St. Helena," 11 June 2018 Fill the glass with ice cubes, stir well, top with a garnish (ideally a lemon wheel, basil, or mint leaf), and sip responsibly. Rachel King, Fortune, "Meet the Next Wine-Based Cocktail Trend Expected to Sweep the Summer," 25 May 2018 Blood Orange Ginger Shrub 1-1/2 ounces Barritt’s Ginger Beer Orange wedge, for garnishCombine vodka, liqueurs and shrub in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until chilled. Anne Brockhoff, kansascity, "Distill their hearts: Why craft liquor and weddings are the hottest new pairing | The Kansas City Star," 22 May 2018 Drinks: Options include a bloody maria made with tequila or mezcal, rimmed with Tajin and garnished with Cotija and chorizo ($9) or a Ron Swanson with scotch, salt and pepper rim and bacon garnish ($10). Samantha Nelson, RedEye Chicago, "15 new Chicago brunches for fall," 5 Oct. 2017 Its garnishes extend about 7 inches up from the rim and 4 inches to the side. Thomas Vinciguerra, WSJ, "Waiter, There’s a Bloody Mary in My Chicken Dinner," 8 July 2018 Tote it in a cooler along with a small container of garnishes to enjoy at the beach or an outdoor concert. Jeanmarie Brownson, chicagotribune.com, "Pack up a picnic of Spanish tapas to feed a crowd," 3 July 2018 Top with pancetta and/or garnish, if desired, with chives and cayenne pepper. Alysha Witwicki, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What to bring? These side dishes are always welcome at a summer picnic," 29 June 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

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

6 Sep 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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