\ ˈspīs How to pronounce spice (audio) \

Definition of spice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of various aromatic vegetable products (such as pepper or nutmeg) used to season or flavor foods
2a archaic : a small portion, quantity, or admixture : dash
b : something that gives zest or relish variety's the very spice of life— William Cowper
3 : a pungent or fragrant odor : perfume


spiced; spicing

Definition of spice (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to season with spices
2 : to add zest or relish to cynicism spiced with humor— J. W. Dawson often used with up

Other Words from spice


spiceless \ ˈspīs-​ləs How to pronounce spice (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for spice

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of spice in a Sentence

Noun The soup needs a little more spice. a cologne for men that captures all of the spice of the sea Verb I spiced the chicken with ginger. spice the stew with more pepper
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There’s a hint of spice on the palate, but overall this is a lovely soft and sweet whisky with notes of honey, vanilla, peach, pear, raspberry and some caramel on the finish. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 26 Nov. 2021 Clémentine California Pure Perfume is the brand's twist on a classic citrus scent, with star anise adding the little bit of spice that elevates this scent above your average fruity fragrance. Sarah Hoffmann, Allure, 25 Nov. 2021 Inspired by philosophy, manga, and trips to far-flung destinations, these innovative creations go far beyond the cozy comfort of pumpkin spice. Vogue, 11 Nov. 2021 The palate is lovely with supple silky red fruit notes with hints of spice and rose petal. Katie Kelly Bell, Forbes, 6 Nov. 2021 Cab Sauv grapes grown high in the eastern hills of Napa Valley, the medium-bodied wine is smooth to drink, with notes of jam on the nose and full of red fruit flavor and a hint of spice on the finish. Rachel King, Fortune, 3 Nov. 2021 The end of autumn signals a number of things; cooler temperatures, the return (and inevitable pervasiveness) of pumpkin spice, and, most importantly, the start of the holiday season. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, 30 Oct. 2021 When the price of nutmeg fell, the company tried to limit the global supply of the spice by eradicating every nutmeg tree outside the Dutch plantations on the Banda Islands. Olufemi O. Taiwo, The New Yorker, 25 Oct. 2021 His family still goes to the desert planet of Arrakis to take over the harvesting of the spice from their rivals, House Harkonnen, and find themselves in a death match for power. Angela Watercutter, Wired, 21 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Give the gift of reality TV and spice up the holiday season. Natalie Lin, Vulture, 24 Nov. 2021 They can also be repurposed, a few tablespoons will spice up a salad dressing and a splash in a cocktail can add a refreshing tang. Beth Segal, cleveland, 19 Nov. 2021 Fremen, who are constantly exposed to spice in their desert environment, all bear these all-blue eyes. Christian Holub, EW.com, 21 Oct. 2021 Its modern-day setting with fans and impersonators at a Mayberry fest lets the actors spice up their characterizations. Mark Bennett, chicagotribune.com, 15 Oct. 2021 To spice junkies like me, that almost feels like a gauntlet being thrown. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, 19 Aug. 2021 Treating yourself to takeout on a random Wednesday can also spice up the week. Washington Post, 12 Feb. 2021 For those of you in a relationship, try some new activities to spice up your love life and take the reins back. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Nov. 2021 The wine has warmth — without alcoholic heat — and spice underneath a lot of dark berry fruit. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spice


Middle English, from Anglo-French espece, espis, from Late Latin species product, wares, drugs, spices, from Latin, appearance, species — more at species

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Time Traveler for spice

Time Traveler

The first known use of spice was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near spice




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Statistics for spice

Last Updated

29 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spice.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spice. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for spice



English Language Learners Definition of spice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a substance (such as pepper or nutmeg) that is used in cooking to add flavor to food and that comes from a dried plant and is usually a powder or seed
: something that adds interest or excitement



English Language Learners Definition of spice (Entry 2 of 2)

: to flavor (food) with spices
: to add interest or excitement to (something)


\ ˈspīs How to pronounce spice (audio) \

Kids Definition of spice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a seasoning (as pepper or nutmeg) that comes from a dried plant part and that is usually a powder or seed
2 : something that adds interest My boring routine needs some spice.


spiced; spicing

Kids Definition of spice (Entry 2 of 2)

: to add something that gives flavor or interest What did you spice the stew with? A new hairstyle spiced up her image.

More from Merriam-Webster on spice

Nglish: Translation of spice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spice for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spice


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