in·​gre·​di·​ent in-ˈgrē-dē-ənt How to pronounce ingredient (audio)
: something that enters into a compound or is a component part of any combination or mixture : constituent
ingredient adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for ingredient

element, component, constituent, ingredient mean one of the parts of a compound or complex whole.

element applies to any such part and often connotes irreducible simplicity.

the basic elements of geometry

component and constituent may designate any of the substances (whether elements or compounds) or the qualities that enter into the makeup of a complex product; component stresses its separate entity or distinguishable character.

the components of a stereo system

constituent stresses its essential and formative character.

the constituents of a chemical compound

ingredient applies to any of the substances which when combined form a particular mixture.

the ingredients of a cocktail

Example Sentences

He uses only the finest ingredients in his cooking. the ingredients of a salad the ingredients in the soap Honesty is an essential ingredient of a successful marriage. The show has all the ingredients needed to attract a large audience.
Recent Examples on the Web Our nutrition pros appreciate the freshness of ingredients., 18 May 2023 The Biden administration has assembled a team to find long-term solutions for shoring up the pharmaceutical supply chain, at a time when the United States remains heavily reliant on medicines and drug ingredients from India and China. Christina Jewett, New York Times, 17 May 2023 Each edition of the the 10-week series will feature two vegan weeknight dinner recipes with substitution suggestions, tips for getting the most out of your ingredients, and a range of easy techniques to add to your cooking repertoire. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 17 May 2023 As the name suggests, this product is part of La Prairie’s unmatched Skin Caviar collection, which harnesses the age-reversing powers of caviar extract—an ingredient whose benefits, according to the brand, can rival retinol. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 16 May 2023 This combination of ingredients earns a top rating from EWG of 1. Lorraine Wilde, Treehugger, 16 May 2023 The carbon dioxide reacts with calcium ions in cement, one of the ingredients of concrete. Cathy Bussewitz, Fortune, 15 May 2023 Bakery items and ingredients, however, have defied the slowdown. Max Zahn, ABC News, 10 May 2023 Depending on the brand and company, green powders can contain anywhere from 25 to 40 or more different ingredients—including spinach, kale, kelp, parsley, beets, carrots, grasses, blueberries, raspberries, green tea extracts, fibers, and mushrooms. Alyssa Hui, Health, 8 May 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Latin ingredient-, ingrediens, present participle of ingredi to go into, from in- + gradi to go — more at grade entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ingredient was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near ingredient

Cite this Entry

“Ingredient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​gre·​di·​ent in-ˈgrēd-ē-ənt How to pronounce ingredient (audio)
: one of the substances that make up a mixture
ingredients of a salad

Medical Definition


in·​gre·​di·​ent in-ˈgrēd-ē-ənt How to pronounce ingredient (audio)
: something that enters into a compound or is a component part of any combination or mixture
formula which will have just about the same ingredients as mother's milkMorris Fishbein
ingredient adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on ingredient

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