Definition of ginger in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈjinjər/


1A hot fragrant spice made from the rhizome of a plant. It is chopped or powdered for cooking, preserved in syrup, or candied.
Example sentences
  • In a food processor or blender, combine tomatoes, pepper, salt, coriander powder, ginger and jalapeno peppers.
  • Nutmeg, pepper, caraway seeds, ground ginger and the curry spices of cumin and coriander are also worth considering.
  • Indian food is prepared with a variety of spices, including cumin, turmeric, chili powder, ginger, and garlic.
1.1Spirit; mettle: he had more ginger than her first husband
2A Southeast Asian plant, which resembles bamboo in appearance, from which this rhizome is taken.
  • Zingiber officinale, family Zingiberaceae.
Example sentences
  • The couple has since added bromeliads, gardenia, ginger, hibiscus, other tropical plants, and a fountain to the atrium.
  • The remaining land is currently being tilled to sow more cereals, ginger, sugarcane or potatoes as soon as I get the right seeds.
  • Both lemon grass and ginger can be grown in the edible garden, directly in the ground or in pots.
3A light reddish-yellow or orange-brown color.
Example sentences
  • Hair colour can range from fair strawberry blonde through strong ginger to a flaming rusty red.
  • She kept her shoulder-length hair coloured its original shade of ginger - at her age, its natural shade would be thickly laced with white - and her figure was as slender as ever.
  • He hasn't aged that well, but that may be down to the fact that he dyes his hair ginger instead of black now.
3.1British informal, chiefly derogatory A red-haired or ginger-haired person.


1(Chiefly of hair or fur) of a light reddish-yellow or orange-brown color.
Example sentences
  • Lucas already has a number of initiatives to help raise money, including a sponsored change of hair colour for which he will dye his ginger hair blond for six weeks.
  • But you can bet I'll still get teased for having ginger hair.
  • She had long flowing ginger hair, and deep almond coloured eyes.
1.1(Of a cat) having ginger fur: a ginger tom
More example sentences
  • Mother stopped and looked back at the ginger kitten.
  • Her ginger cat came sauntering into the room as if he owned it.
  • Tom is ginger and white in colour and quite large.
1.2 informal, chiefly derogatory (Of a person) having red or ginger hair.


[with object]
1 (usually as adjective gingered) Flavor with ginger: gingered chicken wings
More example sentences
  • Yet minced and sautéed and gingered, then rolled into flaky phyllo pastry with threadlike rice noodles, these variety meats make a surprisingly gentle and appealing appetizer called a Moroccan Delicacy Pie.
  • For the main course we had grilled sirloin and gingered chickpea fries, washed down with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • For today's dinner I made my ‘signature’ pumpkin salad and gingered pork with cheese, an old childhood favorite of mine.
2 (ginger someone/something up) Stimulate; enliven: she slapped his hand lightly to ginger him up
More example sentences
  • If I can get them gingered up a bit and inspire them to do something different, then I think I am doing my job.
  • Laughing, she adds, is much healthier than running: it gingers up the metabolism in the same way, but without the negative side effects.
  • Future plans include moving the shop from its underground location to the street frontage to increase exhibition space and to ginger up revenues.



Pronunciation: /ˈjinjərē/
Example sentences
  • It may be that he's even living rough somewhere, but in that case he would be quite distinctive, because he gets this bright gingery beard when he doesn't shave.
  • He was stockily built, about 11 years old, wearing a distinctive bright red tracksuit-like garment and had unusually thick, bushy, fair to gingery hair.
  • The list of sweets is equally sinful and simple, from peaches and cream pancakes to a gingery sticky toffee pudding.


Late Old English gingifer, conflated in Middle English with Old French gingimbre, from medieval Latin gingiber, from Greek zingiberis, from Pali siṅgivera, of Dravidian origin.

  • The word ginger can be traced back to a word in Sanskrit (the ancient language of India), which became zingiberis in Greek and eventually made its way into English around ad 1000. There is no connection between this and the adverb gingerly (early 16th century). In early usage this was used to describe the way a person danced or walked, and meant ‘with small elegant steps’ or ‘daintily’. Later it developed a more negative meaning, ‘mincingly’. The modern meaning, ‘carefully or cautiously’, dates from the 17th century. Gingerly may come from Old French gensor ‘delicate’, and ultimately from Latin genitus ‘born’ or ‘well born’ ( see gender). A ginger group, a group within a political party or movement that presses for stronger action on an issue, comes from an old practice by unscrupulous horse dealers of putting a piece of ginger up the bottom of a worn-out horse in order to make it seem more lively and frisky. This led to the metaphorical use of ginger up to mean ‘to make more lively’, and ginger group developed from this. In the past gingerbread was traditionally decorated with gold leaf. This is why take the gilt off the gingerbread means ‘to make something no longer appealing or to spoil the illusion’. Gilt (Middle English) is the old past participle of gild (from the same root as gold); these days we use gilded.

Words that rhyme with ginger

cringer, impinger, infringer, injure, ninja, whinger, winger

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gin·ger

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