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

Tell tale heart — Jack Daniel’s Apple Jack, grenadine, lemon, smoked cinnamon bitters and garnished with cinnamon, brown sugar and dehydrated apple for $12.66. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, "Death or Glory goes all gory with Halloween pop-up," 27 Aug. 2019 Serve with crostini that has been smeared with fresh goat cheese, and garnish with herbs. al, "Serve a meal inspired by Alabama’s 200-year history," 20 Aug. 2019 To serve, divide the soup into 4 bowls and garnish with the cherry tomato slices and remaining green onion. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Tomatillo Hatch Gazpacho," 14 Aug. 2019 Arrange some of the of the kale stem salsa on the far side of the mackerel (between the fish and the rim of the plate) and garnish with the flowers, lemon slices and sesame seeds. Michael A. Gardiner, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Unrushed rice is key to success with homemade sushi," 6 Aug. 2019 That was almost 15 years ago, when Boston chef Gabriel Frasca showed me his version of the classic, blended from almonds, bread, olive oil, sherry vinegar and garlic — and garnished with more almonds and purple chive blossoms. Joe Yonan, Houston Chronicle, "This elegant, pantry-friendly white gazpacho deserves to be as famous as its red cousin," 5 Aug. 2019 That was almost 15 years ago, when Boston chef Gabriel Frasca showed me his version of the classic, blended from almonds, bread, olive oil, sherry vinegar and garlic — and garnished with more almonds and purple chive blossoms. Joe Yonan, Houston Chronicle, "This elegant, pantry-friendly white gazpacho deserves to be as famous as its red cousin," 5 Aug. 2019 That was almost 15 years ago, when Boston chef Gabriel Frasca showed me his version of the classic, blended from almonds, bread, olive oil, sherry vinegar and garlic — and garnished with more almonds and purple chive blossoms. Joe Yonan, Twin Cities, "This pantry-friendly white gazpacho deserves to be as famous as its red cousin," 1 Aug. 2019 That was almost 15 years ago, when Boston chef Gabriel Frasca showed me his version of the classic, blended from almonds, bread, olive oil, sherry vinegar and garlic — and garnished with more almonds and purple chive blossoms. Joe Yonan, The Denver Post, "This elegant, pantry-friendly white gazpacho deserves to be as famous as its red cousin," 31 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Measure and add all ingredients (except for garnish) to cobbler shaker. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "Toast To Your Hot Girl Summer With These Easy Labor Day Cocktails," 30 Aug. 2019 The street food snack gol gappa — crisp little flour shells stuffed with potatoes, chickpeas and spiced water — are upgraded with a filling of potatoes and avocado, hold any messy liquid, and a single berry or fruit gel as garnish on top. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "At Punjab Grill, there are plenty of gilty pleasures," 21 Aug. 2019 Slice the green onions on the bias, both white and green parts, and reserve to use as a garnish. Chris Ross, San Diego Union-Tribune, "House-made teriyaki shines in Salmon Poke," 9 July 2019 Incorporate them early in the cooking process—stew them in a marinara sauce or chili, or sauté them with veggies or meat—or use them as a garnish, and sprinkle directly on top of your plate for a final touch. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "11 Spices Everyone Should Have in Their Pantry," 23 Mar. 2019 Each came up with a recipe that makes the most of the local tomato bounty, using a maximum of six ingredients (salt, pepper, water and garnishes don’t count). Joan Elovitz Kazan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "We challenged local chefs to create 6-ingredient tomato recipes. Here's what they came up with.," 20 Aug. 2019 At times, food appeared to have languished under a heat lamp before being presented, causing garnishes to wilt and stomachs to growl. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Inconsistent food and service make for a frustrating dining experience at Inner Harbor’s Blackwall Hitch," 15 Aug. 2019 To serve, divide the soup into four bowls, drizzle with the chile oil and garnish with the pomegranate seeds and microgreens. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Cashew and Garlic Gazpacho," 14 Aug. 2019 The Mobhattan features bacon syrup and a bacon garnish; the Black Cadillac works Bombay Sapphire and literal squid ink into a remake of the French 75. al, "Squid Ink happens: Downtown Mobile gets new flavors," 5 Aug. 2019

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

6 Sep 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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