\ 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 Packaged, shredded jackfruit, now an easy find in the vegetarian section of area H-E-B locations, flavored with classic Tex-Mex spices stands in for the chicken with a surprisingly similar texture. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "From the Instant Pot to vegan jackfruit, 4 twists on tortilla soup this winter," 15 Jan. 2020 Whatever its origins, the dish has taken on a host of influences: Its main ingredients are beef and beef broth doused with Cajun spices, soy sauce, ketchup and hot sauce, all enriched with plain old spaghetti noodles. Emily Heil, Washington Post, "5 worldly ways to beat a hangover, from pickled herring to Scotland’s famous soda," 30 Dec. 2019 The body was then drained of blood, filled with spices, wrapped in hay, and buried for 15 days. National Geographic, "Europe's morbid 'mummy craze' has been an obsession for centuries," 10 Dec. 2019 Wassails are usually flavored with spices such as nutmeg, allspice and cloves, while strong ales usually feature different types of hops. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "12 Days of Christmas beers: Try these seasonal craft brews on tap around Louisville," 9 Dec. 2019 Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until heated through and coated with the spices. Alysha Witwicki, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Thanksgiving leftovers can be transformed for morning, noon and night (and dessert)," 26 Nov. 2019 My version, which is thickened with ground cashews, differs from a traditional korma, where either meat or vegetables are cooked in a fragrant yogurt-based gravy seasoned with spices. Nik Sharma, SFChronicle.com, "Brown Kitchen: Squash does double duty in savory and sweet recipes," 22 Nov. 2019 Smokey Bones: To-go orders: smoked meats, sliced smoked turkey; includes turkey breast rubbed with house spices and hickory smoked for 3 hours. Polly Campbell, Cincinnati.com, "Where to eat on Thanksgiving if you don't feel like cooking. Or washing dishes," 13 Nov. 2019 Christopher Heisinger of Le Cirque — a French restaurant at the Bellagio that not only outpaced, but outlasted the original in New York — served up a foie gras tart with autumn spices. Rob Kachelriess, USA TODAY, "Las Vegas chefs seize the spotlight at USA TODAY Wine & Food Experience," 27 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Don’t forget to enjoy the island’s rich Creole heritage as well, with foods like crabback (spiced local crab) and callaloo (leaf stew) and folkloric, African inspired dance, called bélé. Kristin Braswell, USA TODAY, "Find the right Caribbean island, from luxurious St. Barths to budget-friendly Puerto Rico," 14 Jan. 2020 Pumpkin spiced churros with dulce de leche and white chocolate sauce will draw attention at the pastry team’s live action station. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Here are 38 restaurants for Thanksgiving dinner and brunch in metro Phoenix," 15 Nov. 2019 There's a hearty, slightly spiced and caramelized poutine — Belgian-style fries mixed with shreddings of beef cheek. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, "Mixtape: Dining Review," 1 Nov. 2019 Snowball Old-Fashioned: Caramelized pecan bourbon, spiced molasses syrup and wormwood bitters. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "Miracle, a Christmas pop-up bar, bringing cocktails, ugly sweaters to downtown Fort Lauderdale," 14 Oct. 2019 In most parts of the country, the temps are starting to dip, Starbucks is serving pumpkin spiced lattes and apple donuts are pretty much falling from the sky. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "We found the 20 spookiest Halloween decoration ideas you need this year," 3 Oct. 2019 Delarosa on Chestnut Street orders unbaked apple pies from Sweet Things for its coppa mela dessert, which features the pie served in a bowl with vanilla gelato, creme anglaise and spiced caramel. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "Carrot cake keeps bakery Sweet Things going for more than 40 years," 30 July 2019 The simplest is the baked Irish oats, spiced with cardamom and cinnamon. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "Four breakfasts worth celebrating," 27 Dec. 2019 The simplest is the baked Irish oats, spiced with cardamom and cinnamon. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "Four Breakfasts as Festive as the Season," 20 Dec. 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

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spice.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spices. Accessed 24 January 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

Comments on spice

What made you want to look up spice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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