Definition of cook in English:

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Pronunciation: /ko͝ok/


1 [with object] Prepare (food, a dish, or a meal) by combining and heating the ingredients in various ways: shall I cook dinner tonight? [no object]: I told you I could cook (as adjective cooked) a cooked breakfast
More example sentences
  • When you're ready to prepare the dish, cook the pasta, drain it and set it aside.
  • Everyone then headed back to the school kitchens for a health and safety run-through before preparing and cooking the three-course meal.
  • In an ideal world, she said, everyone would prepare and cook their own meals without much salt and fat.
prepare, make, put together
informal fix, rustle up
1.1 [no object] (Of food) be heated so that the condition required for eating is reached: while the rice is cooking, add the saffron to the stock
More example sentences
  • Inside the immaculately clean kitchen, bacon cooked in a frying pan on the stove.
  • Many do feel that the food cooked in the microwave oven is not tasty.
  • Food cooked in a microwave oven does not present a radiation risk.
1.2 (cook something down) Heat food and cause it to thicken and reduce in volume: cooking down the chutney can take up to 45 minutes
More example sentences
  • The idea is to blend the flavors and cook it down until the meat and potatoes are crisp, and the other vegetables are soft and caramelized.
  • In which case, the fruit wasn't cooked down enough.
  • Often the unfermented sweet grapes will be added to the wine, and sometimes the grape juice will be cooked down into a sweetened paste, which can be added to the wine to intensify it.
1.3 (be cooking) informal Be happening or planned: what’s cooking on the alternative fuels front?
More example sentences
  • Evidently this has been cooking for several months, but the word recently leaked out, and a paper has been rushed to the online edition of Science.
  • Meanwhile, more than 8,000 miles away in Mongolia, another egg surprise was cooking.
happening, going on, taking place, occurring
informal going down
2 [with object] informal Alter dishonestly; falsify: a narcotics team who cooked the evidence
More example sentences
  • When I heard that he had cooked his evidence, my first reaction was ‘how stupid’.
  • A scientist who believes in the Creator is suspected of cooking the evidence to support his belief.
  • Brinkley offers no evidence that the numbers were cooked or the questions were unfairly worded.
falsify, alter, doctor, tamper with, interfere with, massage, manipulate, fiddle
2.1 (be cooked) Be in an inescapably bad situation: if I can’t talk to him, I’m cooked
More example sentences
  • Certainly the subtext of Andersen's book is that we of the media class - even if he allows his alter ego a better fate - are cooked.
  • There was steam coming out of McLeish's ears from early yesterday, a sure sign that, like his team, the Rangers manager is also cooked.
3 [no object] North American informal Perform or proceed vigorously or well: the band used to get up on the bandstand and really cook
More example sentences
  • The album doesn't really get cooking until its second half, where the songs have agendas other than beating listeners senseless.
  • Luckily, these guys love to cook - whoever isn't cutting tracks is cooking!
  • By the end of their set, when they played ‘Burn Baby Burn’ from their new Free All Angels, they were really cooking.


A person who prepares and cooks food, especially as a job or in a specified way: a short order cook I’m a good cook
More example sentences
  • I became aware of the cooks preparing food for us, and the servers serving us, and I began to feel grateful that they were all working so that I could sit!
  • The biggest change in food television over the last five years has been the move away from showing cooks prepare food to revealing how they manage their careers and lives.
  • One of the beautiful things about this open-plan restaurant is that you can watch the cooks prepare your food as you enjoy the surroundings.
chef, food preparer, short-order cook, pastry chef;
chef de cuisine, sous-chef, cordon bleu cook
informal cookie



cook the books

informal Alter facts or figures dishonestly or illegally.
Example sentences
  • Does he engage in dishonest schemes such as cooking the books?
  • He was a crook who absolutely cooked the books to hide his crimes.
  • ‘Tanning salons are an extremely popular way to clean up dirty money because there is a lot of potential for cooking the books,’ said one former member of the Scottish Crime Squad.

cook someone's goose

informal Cause someone’s downfall: I’ve got enough on you to cook your goose
More example sentences
  • He lost to incumbent Tom Murphy in the Democrat primaries in 1997 and 2001, but many believe the city's financial problems have cooked Murphy 's goose.
  • Revelation inevitably turned to revolution in 1789, as generous helpings of liberté, égalité and fraternité cooked the king 's goose.
  • But Australia does have immense, hot cultural strength and flaming pride and we will cook Howard 's goose with it.

too many cooks spoil the broth

proverb If too many people are involved in a task, it will not be done well.
Example sentences
  • There is no such thing as too many cooks spoil the broth when it comes to making soup for the homeless, and the Salvation Army know this.
  • It is rightly said that too many cooks spoil the broth.
  • We've heard: too many cooks spoil the broth: just this time it cannot be true.

Phrasal verbs

cook something up

Concoct a story, excuse, or plan, especially an ingenious or devious one.
Example sentences
  • When, in fact, we're several people who cooked this idea up back in 1999, when we were drunk and wondering if all the computers were going to collapse because of Y2K.
  • Then he leaned close towards his faithful servants, and said in a soft voice, ‘You two really are cooking something up, and I can't wait to find out what it is.’
  • I don't have much faith in the plan, no… frankly, Himmler's mad in my book for cooking it up.



Example sentences
  • But if a new product came onto the market that tasted like perfectly cooked lamb, contained only good things like protein and starch and vitamins, had minimal calories and was cookable in the microwave, could you avoid buying it?
  • I started pulling out cooking utensils to find any food that was cookable.
  • This invention relates to a coating for foodstuffs which is cookable by means of a microwave oven.


Old English cōc (noun), from popular Latin cocus, from Latin coquus.

  • The Old English coc, the early form of cook, was always male. The word was applied either to the domestic officer in charge of the preparation of food in a large household or to a tradesman who prepared and sold food. Women who prepared dinner started being called cooks in the mid 16th century. The root of the word is Latin coquus, also the source of concoct (mid 16th century) and biscuit. Cook has been used to mean ‘to tamper with’ since the 1630s, giving us cook the books, meaning ‘to alter records or accounts dishonestly’. The proverb too many cooks spoil the broth also dates back to the 16th century. It is not certain where the phrase cook someone's goose comes from. The reference could be to a goose being reared and fattened up for a forthcoming special occasion. Anyone who killed and cooked the goose before the proper time would have ruined the plans for the feast.

Words that rhyme with cook

betook, book, brook, Brooke, Chinook, chook, Coke, Cooke, crook, forsook, Gluck, hook, look, mistook, nook, partook, rook, schnook, schtuck, Shilluk, shook, Tobruk, took, undercook, undertook

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cook

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