gar·​nish·​ment ˈgär-nish-mənt How to pronounce garnishment (audio)
: a legal summons or warning concerning the attachment of property to satisfy a debt
: a stoppage of a specified sum from wages to satisfy a creditor or a legal obligation (such as child support)

Examples of garnishment in a Sentence

a high-end caterer whose dishes feature an array of over-the-top garnishments
Recent Examples on the Web There will be a carving station with ham, prime rib and leg of lamb, a bagel tower with garnishments of for lox, and several cream cheese varieties, crepe and omelet station, seafood and salad displays. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 5 Apr. 2023 Universal Music Group has 10 days from the receipt of the order of garnishment to pay R. Kelly's debt, according to the documents. Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY, 25 Aug. 2023 In the first instance, prosecutors said Sessler dropped off forged garnishment paperwork at a daycare where his tenant was employed. Cary Spivak, Journal Sentinel, 7 Apr. 2023 Next, the court pointed out that there were serious procedural flaws in the issuance of the garnishment summons, so severe in fact that the garnishment of the funds was ipso facto invalid and the funds would have to be returned to the LLC. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2022 The company paid another $225 million last year in fines over mishandling state unemployment benefits during the pandemic and a separate $10 million civil penalty over unlawful garnishments. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, 11 July 2023 Last year it was ordered to pay a $10 million civil penalty over unlawful garnishments. Ken Sweet, Fortune, 12 July 2023 Various fines, lawsuits, regulatory movements, settlement payments, garnishments, and other legal comings and goings over the years have mostly gone over the heads or under the radar of concern for West Virginians. Andrew Donaldson, Washington Examiner, 5 May 2023 The payment break has provided relief for roughly 27 million borrowers and another seven million in default, who received a reprieve from wage garnishment and other collection efforts. Tara Siegel Bernard, New York Times, 1 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'garnishment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


(sense 1) garnish entry 1 + -ment; (senses 2 & 3) borrowed from Anglo-French garnissement "warning, notification, notification concerning the attachment of property to satisfy a debt," from garniss-, stem of garnir "to give notice, warn, give legal summons" + -ment -ment — more at garnish entry 1

First Known Use

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of garnishment was in 1550

Dictionary Entries Near garnishment

Cite this Entry

“Garnishment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Legal Definition


gar·​nish·​ment ˈgär-nish-mənt How to pronounce garnishment (audio)
: a remedial device used by a creditor to have property of the debtor or money owed to the debtor that is in the possession of a third party attached to pay the debt to the creditor
specifically : attachment of the debtor's wages to satisfy a judgment compare wage assignment at assignment

More from Merriam-Webster on garnishment

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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