gin·​ger | \ ˈjin-jər How to pronounce ginger (audio) \

Definition of ginger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a thickened pungent aromatic rhizome that is used as a spice and sometimes medicinally
(2) : the spice usually prepared by drying and grinding ginger
b : any of a genus (Zingiber of the family Zingiberaceae, the ginger family) of herbs with pungent aromatic rhizomes especially : a widely cultivated tropical herb (Z. officinale) that supplies most commercial ginger — compare wild ginger
2 : pep the ginger to … work hard— Willa Cather
3a : a light reddish or reddish-brown color ginger hair
b chiefly British, sometimes offensive : a person with red hair : redhead sense 1 The Breda Redhead Days festival—which grew out of a photo shoot by Dutch artist Bart Rouwenhorst—now attracts five or six thousand gingers from around the world.— Bruce Ingram


gingered; gingering\ ˈjinj-​riŋ How to pronounce ginger (audio) , ˈjin-​jə-​ \

Definition of ginger (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make lively : pep up ginger up the tourist tradeThe New York Times

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Other Words from ginger


gingery \ ˈjinj-​rē How to pronounce ginger (audio) , ˈjin-​jə-​ \ adjective

Examples of ginger in a Sentence

Noun The recipe calls for a teaspoon of ginger. a 60-year-old with the ginger to consider skydiving lessons
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mixmaster Charles Griffin’s uses Pimm’s No. 1, lemonade, fruits and club soda, vs. the more familiar 7Up or ginger ale. Michael Klein,, "Let's Eat: Something diferente on East Passyunk," 19 July 2017 Slice banana bread diagonally and place on top of ginger crème anglaise. Nancy Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Banana & Nutella recipe | Cuvee Wine Table," 4 July 2017 Their line of cans range from a spicy ginger-beer and rum to a gin and tonic infused with crisp cucumber and grapefruit. Hillary Eaton, Fortune, "9 Cocktails You Should Drink Out of Cans This Summer," 17 June 2017 Their Tung Po pork belly arrives in the petite lidded pot it’s cooked in, kept warm over a candle that continues to thicken and caramelize the dark, ginger and soy sauce. Providence Cicero, The Seattle Times, "Peony Kitchen: Chinese food presented with panache in Bellevue," 15 June 2017 Raw, berry-sized Thai eggplants are snappy, slightly bitter surprises in an earthy green short rib curry, with extra layers of flavor from ginger-like finger root and basil. Jodi Mailander Farrell, miamiherald, "Cake Thai is an 'invitation to adventure'," 29 June 2017 Signature menu items include a lobster and avocado salad, served with a miso-ginger dressing, and a strip steak. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "How Two Manolo Blahnik Executives Became Award-Winning Farmers," 26 June 2017 Preparation Process shallot, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, jalapeño, coriander, cumin, ½ cup cilantro, and 1 Tbsp. Bon Appetit, "Lemongrass Curry with Shrimp," 26 June 2017 The vegetable is salted and then usually rubbed with chili powder, garlic, ginger and scallions. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "To promote kimchi abroad, Korean scientists are trying to get rid of the smell," 22 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Finally, look back at your orange and ginger combos to experiment with using carrot juice in Asian-style marinades and stir-fry sauces. Laura Wheatman Hill,, "How to make carrot juice," 12 Mar. 2021 Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger in a bowl; pour over bread. Mary Heffernen, Country Living, "Brioche Bread Pudding with Bourbon-Butterscotch Sauce," 5 Oct. 2020 Once done, grate the garlic and ginger into the broth and season with sea salt. Christian Reynoso,, "Fall’s cranberry beans reimagine chile verde as a sultry vegetarian stew," 25 Sep. 2020 Mix together the red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and ginger garlic paste along with enough cold water to soak the mixture. Richard Vines,, "Top Indian Chef Shares His Easy Chicken Masala at Home Dish," 11 Sep. 2020 Combine lemon juice, sugar, peach, and ginger in a mason jar. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, "Peach-Ginger Lemonade," 17 Aug. 2020 As squash roasts, toss the onion, vinegar, garlic, turmeric and ginger in a large bowl; let marinate at least 10 minutes. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "Braised chicken thighs and other weeknight possibilities," 7 June 2020 In fact, research has linked multiple digestive benefits to ginger, specifically acting on parts of your GI tract responsible for feelings of nausea, stomach upset, and vomiting. Good Housekeeping, "9 Surprising Health Benefits of Ginger You Need to Know About," 30 June 2020 Sift flour, baking powder, cardamom, mace and ginger into a small bowl. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Embracing the wider world': Spices sell quickly as coronavirus encourages home cooks," 8 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ginger.' 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 ginger


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1844, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ginger


Middle English, alteration of Old English gingifer, from Medieval Latin gingiber, alteration of Latin zingiber, from Greek zingiberi, of Indo-Aryan origin; akin to Pali siṅgivēra ginger

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Time Traveler for ginger

Time Traveler

The first known use of ginger was before the 12th century

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Statistics for ginger

Cite this Entry

“Ginger.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for ginger



English Language Learners Definition of ginger

: the strongly flavored root of a tropical plant that is used in cooking
: a spice made from ginger
chiefly British : a light reddish or reddish-brown color


gin·​ger | \ ˈjin-jər How to pronounce ginger (audio) \

Kids Definition of ginger

: a hot spice obtained from the root of a tropical plant and used especially to season foods


gin·​ger | \ ˈjin-jər How to pronounce ginger (audio) \

Medical Definition of ginger

1a : a thickened pungent aromatic rhizome that is used as a spice and sometimes in medicine
b : the spice usually prepared by drying and grinding ginger
2 : any of a genus (Zingiber of the family Zingiberaceae, the ginger family) of herbs with pungent aromatic rhizomes especially : a widely cultivated tropical herb (Z. officinale) that supplies most of the ginger of commerce

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