1 of 2


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


2 of 2


spiced; spicing

transitive verb

: to season with spices
: to add zest or relish to
cynicism spiced with humorJ. W. Dawson
often used with up

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Something really light and with some spice mixed in. Dallas News, 22 Feb. 2023 Medium-full with ideal ripeness, the oak notes are subdued, while there is notable persistence, along with subtle spice and savory notes. Tom Hyland, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2023 One example is a tequila and rye cocktail made with Chinese five spice and apple brandy. Bahar Anooshahr, The Arizona Republic, 7 Feb. 2023 At Naija Boy Tacos in Sacramento, the Nigerian American chef Rasheed Amedu is serving curry goat on plantain cassava tortillas and seasoning chicken with the street-kebab spice called suya. Kim Severson, New York Times, 27 Dec. 2022 This haven for Sichuan dishes has a menu packed with spice and smoke, the Globe wrote in 2006. Maura Johnson, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Dec. 2022 This hot sauce packs a garlicy punch combined with a medium spice. Vanessa Powell, Men's Health, 9 Dec. 2022 For a flavor variation, replace the cardamom and ginger with 1 teaspoon chai spice. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, 9 Nov. 2022 Meanwhile, heavy and long-lasting colognes with warming spice and wood accords are typically donned in the evenings and during cooler winter months. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Sep. 2022
Featuring a character who decides to spice up her life by throwing on a disguise and transforming into a bank robber, the play is co-authored by Galveston’s Molly Beach Murphy. Rebecca Deurlein, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2023 This sophisticated deck of playing cards from Tiffany's will spice up their next game night. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 2 Feb. 2023 At 11 years old, Pepper is sure to spice your life up in the best way possible! The Republic, The Arizona Republic, 21 Jan. 2023 This date will spice up your love life while teeing up your physical activity. Stephanie Toone, ajc, 6 Jan. 2023 This feminine brand offers the prettiest heels to spice up your life. ELLE, 30 Nov. 2022 Your Own Hot Sauce Kit Your parents can spice up date night by making their very own hot sauces. Kylee Mcguigan, Popular Mechanics, 9 Nov. 2022 Although Valentina may be a far cry from the charismatic and decadent Armond, the two certainly know how to spice things up at work and drive home a theme — all while working a tailored suit. Elaina Patton, NBC News, 9 Dec. 2022 Without much drama to spice things up, the deliberate sloppiness of the thin brushstrokes suggests a facile confidence that’s hard to admire, let alone share. Jackson Arn, The New Yorker, 7 Feb. 2023 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near spice

Cite this Entry

“Spice.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spice. Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a plant product (as pepper or nutmeg) that has a strong pleasant smell and is used to season or flavor food
: something that adds interest
variety is the spice of life
: a fragrant odor : perfume


2 of 2 verb
spiced; spicing
: to season with or as if with spices

More from Merriam-Webster on spice

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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