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 Even Tone Serum is rich in the gentle ingredient, as well as niacinamide, to decrease hyperpigmentation and melasma and prevent new dark spots from popping up. Devon Abelman, Allure, 15 Nov. 2022 The latest addition, however, is a rather luxe ingredient: truffles. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 11 Nov. 2022 This holiday season, there’s one ingredient that will make any event more festive—delicious alcohol-free beverage options. Outside Online, 9 Nov. 2022 Straight up green tea for the purists, this pick contains only one ingredient: green tea. Amy Fischer M.s., R.d., Good Housekeeping, 8 Nov. 2022 An ingredient used in many topical psoriasis treatments that is effective at reducing inflammation and scaling. Petra Guglielmetti, Glamour, 7 Nov. 2022 The upgrade from Grade A to ethereal came with the swap of one ingredient: ground vanilla. Jane Black, WSJ, 2 Nov. 2022 From formulated this nourishing mask with 38 percent pure honey as the first ingredient, which smells delicious and leaves the skin feeling hydrated and calm. Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 28 Oct. 2022 Making chocolate at home involves a lot of steps (adding up to over a week in total time), but there’s only one ingredient: cacao pods. Nico Avalle, Bon Appétit, 13 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ingredient.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 29 Nov. 2022.

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 milk Morris Fishbein
ingredient adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on ingredient

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