\ 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

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Other Words from spice


spiceless \ ˈspīs-​ləs How to pronounce spiceless (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 Another server presented my friend and me with a cheese plate, pointing out bleu cheese, goat cheese with Moroccan spices, smoked Gouda, Gruyere. Liza Weisstuch, Washington Post, "Where to find the best vegan dining in Manhattan," 14 Feb. 2020 Boost flavors in apple or pears with spices, or add a soft cheese like mascarpone. Eric Velasco, al, "2 Valentine’s Day dessert recipes to make at home," 13 Feb. 2020 Andouille sausage on a combo platter with sirloin ($23.99) burst with spice and flavor, and crisped to crunchy satisfaction on the stone. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: Hot and bothered at Black Rock in Fort Lauderdale, home of DIY steaks and mystery drink prices," 11 Sep. 2019 In Ghana: Jollof rice is made with basmati or thai rice, with warm spices like clove, nutmeg or cinnamon. Haleluya Hadero, Quartz Africa, "How Jollof rice became West Africa’s iconic dish and a point of banter between Africans," 23 Aug. 2019 The thrum of voices; the selling of spices and pots. . Los Angeles Times, "This Iranian scarf seller has been beaten and humiliated. Yet he endures," 30 Jan. 2020 In fact, many of the spices on sale in Zanzibar’s markets are imported. Sarah Khan, New York Times, "Zanzibar in the Rain," 22 Jan. 2020 The rub, which is typically made of spices and herbs, will add a big taste punch. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Great Ways to Brine a Turkey," 10 Jan. 2020 Select a good chorizo — my preference is one with a robust blend of spices. Nik Sharma, SFChronicle.com, "A sheet-pan chicken dinner that bastes itself," 27 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Urban Axes, located at 2010 Elm St., in Cincinnati, wants to spice up your holiday with drinks and ax throwing. Segann March, Cincinnati.com, "It doesn't have to be romantic: Quirky ways to celebrate Valentine's Day in Cincinnati," 13 Feb. 2020 The hair jewelry trend took off a few seasons ago, but rings, pearls and blinged out barrettes are back to spice up coifs from the run-way to reality. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "Tail-Blazing," 16 Jan. 2020 From that standpoint, Morris can help spice up the passing game for an Auburn team that, over the last several games began to lean more heavily on Nix’s arm. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Gus Malzahn thanks Kenny Dillingham, welcomes start of Chad Morris era at Auburn," 15 Dec. 2019 The sport needed its version of walk-off home runs or last-second touchdown passes to spice up the action. Jenna Fryer, orlandosentinel.com, "Brian France’s NASCAR playoff vision looking good," 21 Oct. 2019 Although some manufacturers have attempted to spice up refrigerators with an Internet-of-Things capacity, few of us have found automatic egg-inventory-tracking notifications a compelling upgrade. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "What if your refrigerator cooled your food by twisting wires?," 11 Oct. 2019 Starting in the 1950s, many mountain families ingeniously used the old-timey hard cinnamon candy to spice up their apple butter when cinnamon sticks or powder were unavailable or too expensive. Jane Black, Washington Post, "Peel, chop and stir for hours: How Appalachia’s beloved community apple-butter parties live on," 2 Oct. 2019 Afternoon tea is the focus, featuring a selection of 24 teas — everything from butter truffle to spiced plum — with a variety of plates brimming with sandwiches, scones, Devonshire cream, savories and a choice of dessert. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "Downton Abbey: Afternoon tea? Here are 5 traditional Bay Area spots," 12 Sep. 2019 Iggy Azalea wants to spice up your life — with her first new album in five years! Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Iggy Azalea Channels Baby Spice in Sexy Photos as She Drops First Album in Five Years," 19 July 2019

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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Statistics for spice

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spice.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiceless?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=s&file=spice002. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for spice


How to pronounce spice (audio)

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on spice

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spice

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spice

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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