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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Thus the flautas, crispy-fried rolls stuffed with chipotle-potato puree alongside salsa verde and queso fresco (one of the menu’s half-dozen or so vegetarian options), are garnished with lettuce leaves. Phil Vettel, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Mercado Cocina brings serious Mexican food to an unlikely location," 12 Sep. 2019 Each glass was garnished with a hefty cucumber slice. Author: Leanne Italie, Anchorage Daily News, "With a nudge from the young and sober, mocktails taking hold," 4 Sep. 2019 Each glass was garnished with a hefty cucumber slice. NBC News, "With a nudge from the young and sober, mocktails taking hold," 4 Sep. 2019 Each glass was garnished with a hefty cucumber slice. Washington Post, "With a nudge from the young and sober, mocktails taking hold," 3 Sep. 2019 At lunch, fish tacos made with fried black cod ($19 for three) were garnished with dollops of avocado puree and quick-pickled napa cabbage that dripped liquid onto the plate. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "The Vault, San Francisco’s new Financial District blockbuster, comes up empty," 13 June 2019 Her desire to create a quintessentially British affair with touches of New York glamour was garnished with romantic touches—a nod to her fiancé, Henry. Tara Lamont-djite, Harper's BAZAAR, "When Megan Met Henry: A Very British Wedding in Brooklyn," 11 Mar. 2019 An additional $5,000 fine per day and half of the worth of what outside compensation the secretaries had earned could also be garnished, under the bill. Julia O'donoghue, NOLA.com, "Health Secretary Rebekah Gee could have to stop seeing patients under proposed law," 25 Apr. 2018 In thousands of cases, the hospital attempted to garnish defendants’ paychecks to collect the debt. Maya Miller, ProPublica, "Thousands of Poor Patients Face Lawsuits From Nonprofit Hospitals That Trap Them in Debt," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve for garnish, leaving the bacon fat in the pot. Los Angeles Times, "A summer squash soup with a pedigree," 24 Aug. 2019 On the contrary, they are made with quality ingredients and loaded with garnishes meant to enhance their appeal. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "This Shelby Park restaurant is home to Louisville's best hot dog," 11 Sep. 2019 Small fresh herb sprigs, for garnish Instructions: Heat the oven to 325. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Stuffed Tomatoes Both Hot and Cold from ‘Downton Abbey’," 11 Sep. 2019 Everyone grabs for their tottering beverages, trying desperately to prevent spritzes and garnishes and straws (paper, natch) from making contact with summer whites. Amiel Stanek, Bon Appétit, "This 20-Cent Wedge of Plastic Will Make You a Restaurant Hero," 26 Aug. 2019 The cart comes around with gin options, a tonic selection, and various garnishes, mixed to order at the table. Fortune, "Bar Carts Are Back: How This Revival Is Different," 13 July 2019 These cheesy spiders have breadcrumb fur and chow mein noodle legs, making them a great finger food, or a melty-crunchy garnish on top of bubbling bowls of stew. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Cheesy Spiders," 13 Sep. 2019 The eatery in West Hollywood is tapping Elton John as the muse for Rocket Man, a $15 cocktail shaken with mezcal, aquavit, lime, Fino sherry, gentian liqueur and arugula, which provides the vivid green tint as well as the healthy garnish. Khanh T.l. Tran, The Hollywood Reporter, "Drink and Dish: Patton Oswalt's Comedy Dinner, Miley Cyrus-Approved Vegan Hot Spot," 30 July 2019 Seasoned ground lamb and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes and a green onion garnish. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Here's everything you need to know about the 2019 Indiana State Fair," 15 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about garnish

Listen to Our Podcast about garnish

Statistics for garnish

Last Updated

1 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for garnish

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for garnish

garnish

verb
How to pronounce garnish (audio)

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)
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on garnish

What made you want to look up garnish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!