gin·​ger | \ ˈjin-jər \

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 , 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 , ˈjin-​jə-​ \ adjective

Examples of ginger in a Sentence


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

Conclusive evidence on whether tax cuts will ginger up the whole economy will take longer to appear, although some bankers detect it already. The Economist, "Tax cuts and higher interest rates help boost banks’ earnings," 19 Apr. 2018 Knock-out competition To ginger up small-business banking, RBS, the market leader, must cede ground and money to competitors as part of the price, agreed on with the European Commission, of its rescue by the government in 2008. The Economist, "The digital upstarts taking on Britain’s dominant few banks," 15 Feb. 2018 Although the tuna flavor is mild, the wasabi and gingered carrots do a fine job of waking up your taste buds. Steffi Victorioso, Los Angeles Magazine, "Every Burger at Umami Burger, Ranked," 23 Oct. 2017

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

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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 \

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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on ginger

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ginger

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ginger

Spanish Central: Translation of ginger

Nglish: Translation of ginger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ginger for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ginger

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