Definition of dish in English:

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Pronunciation: /diSH/


1A shallow, typically flat-bottomed container for cooking or serving food: an ovenproof dish
More example sentences
  • One of them tossed the contents of a sauté pan into a serving dish and turned to bring it over to the cart.
  • All the serving bowls, dishes in the dinner set will come with lids, he adds.
  • So I have four place settings of cheap crockery, one pan, and two serving dishes.
bowl, plate, platter, salver, paten;
container, receptacle, casserole, tureen
archaic trencher, charger
historical porringer
1.1The food contained or served in a dish: a dish of oysters
More example sentences
  • There were four of them, served with a dish of melted garlic butter, and another of hot salsa sauce.
  • The fish and meat flavours burst through the tasty sauce, and a dish of basmati rice proved to be a great partner.
  • She sighed, and then walked downstairs to get a dish of ice cream.
recipe, meal, course;
(dishes) food, fare
1.2A particular variety or preparation of food served as part of a meal: fresh fish dishes pasta was served as a main dish
More example sentences
  • And remember, don't think of them as mere side dishes - hearty vegetables can serve as the main dish for a meal.
  • Dinner consists of fresh fruit, homemade soup, and a main dish with meat or fish accompanied by rice and/or potatoes.
  • This would make a great side with fish for instance, or can be served as a main dish.
1.3 (the dishes) All the items that have been used in the preparation, serving, and eating of a meal: it was our turn to wash the dishes
More example sentences
  • But then today, as I was standing in the kitchen doing the dishes, he suddenly clung to my legs and whimpered in the same way as when he had seen the fire.
  • Every time I came home from work and walk up the steps to the building, he'd be in the kitchen either doing the dishes or peering out the window.
  • I was washing the dishes in the kitchen, when I felt a tug on my jeans.
1.4 [usually with modifier] A shallow, concave receptacle, especially one intended to hold a particular substance: a water dish
More example sentences
  • Chicks should be able to dip only their beaks into the water dish, so place pebbles, marbles, or a screen in the dish.
  • Much later, he crept downstairs and drank from his water dish, but he wasn't his old self and took no notice of me.
  • She dumped the contents of the box into a bonbon dish that stood upon the hall table and picking out the chocolate piece, ate it daintily while she examined her purchases.
1.5 (also dish aerial) A bowl-shaped radio antenna. See also satellite dish.
Example sentences
  • However in the meantime a dish aerial appeared on the roof of the building without planning consent.
  • This signal is picked up by a satellite TV dish then transmitted to a receiver where it is amplified and sent to a TV screen.
  • The top of the cylinder was capped with a parabolic radio dish, which appeared to be made of cloth supported by a series of metal ribs.
2 informal A sexually attractive person: I gather she’s quite a dish
More example sentences
  • Quite a dish, I'm sure our female readers will agree.
  • You think he's a dish too. I know you do. And the Irish accent will get you if he doesn't.
  • As for Ben, well frankly he's a dish!
2.1 (one's dish) dated A thing that one particularly enjoys or does well: as a public relations man this was my dish and the campaign was right up my street
3 (the dish) informal Information that is not generally known or available: if he has the real dish I wish he’d tell us
4Concavity of a spoked wheel resulting from a difference in spoke tension on each side and consequent sideways displacement of the rim in relation to the hub.
Example sentences
  • This won't work because the wheel will end up way out of dish and the tire will likely rub the kickstand-side chainstay.
  • Advantages are a really strong rear wheel build, as the wheel has very little dish on it, and also the chain line is significantly improved, a problem found on many bikes.
  • Not only does this make the rear stiff but the 160 mm hub also builds a stronger, no dish wheel with a perfect chain-line for great shifting.


[with object]
1 (dish something out/up) Put (food) onto a plate or plates before a meal: Steve was dishing up vegetables
More example sentences
  • Because the pasta can be a little slippery, a big serving spoon or ladle is recommended for dishing it up.
  • If you have children you just whip it out of the freezer and dish it up.
  • Meat pies would be dished up with sauce squeezed by the lady behind the counter and full strength beers would be served in bottles.
distribute, dispense, issue, hand out/around, give out, pass out/around;
deal out, dole out, share out, allocate, allot, apportion
1.1 (dish something out) Dispense something in a casual or indiscriminate way: the banks dished out loans to all and sundry
More example sentences
  • And what will we do if Alzheimer's disease turns out to be bacterial, and we've just made the bug resistant to every known antibiotic by dishing them out in the casual way that has been the norm since the 1950s?
  • You read stories in the local papers about eleven-year-olds dealing in acid, dishing tabs out in the playground like they were sherbet lemons.
  • Under the terms of the deal, chocolate bars will be dished out to supporters at every home game and factory employees will be invited into the club's hospitality suite.
1.2 (dish something up) Offer or present something, especially something regarded as substandard: is your ISP short-changing you by dishing up outdated and perhaps incorrect information?
1.3 (dish it out) informal Subject others to criticism or punishment: you can dish it out but you can’t take it
More example sentences
  • If people think it is all right to dish it out, then I think they should be prepared to take it, and should stop whingeing afterwards.
  • I am prepared to put up with it, because if he is prepared to sow it, then I can dish it out.
  • The Diary journalists, who only ever write anonymously, can dish it out but they aren't prepared to take it…
1.4 [no object] North American informal Gossip or share information, especially information of an intimate or scandalous nature: groups gather to brag about babies and dish about romances
More example sentences
  • The host dishes about Simon and shares her emotional struggle with an eating disorder.
  • How to be a good gossip: dishing at work isn't always a bad thing.
  • Our friends talked shop for a while, dishing on backstage gossip about the other artists.
2 informal, chiefly British Utterly destroy, confound, or defeat (someone or something).
Example sentences
  • The newspaper supported the war, but this is a chance to dish the government on grounds of spin.
  • The great marquess never sold the pass on such an issue of principle, the great adventurer couldn't resist dishing the Whigs by out-democratising them.
  • There is a good chance your friend dished your rotor when he bent it back.
3Give concavity to (a wheel) by tensioning the spokes. See sense 4 of the noun.
Example sentences
  • The geometry stays the same and the rear wheel is dished exactly as the standard setup.
  • There are 4 different things that you need to bring under control to complete the job: lateral truing, vertical truing, dishing, and tensioning.
  • I think I dished the wheel a little later than I should have, and I adjusted the dish mostly by tightening spokes on the one side instead of loosening spokes on the other.


dish the dirt

informal Reveal or spread scandalous information or gossip.
Example sentences
  • Meanwhile a drag artist has set up a fitness studio which dishes the dirt on celebs while clients work out.
  • They're dishing the dirt on their former bosses, revealing juicy details about their egos, failings and potentially illegal behaviour.
  • What he won't be doing is dishing the dirt on the local MPs he hobnobs with every day in the course of his work.

Phrasal verbs

dish something off

Pass the ball to a teammate, especially in basketball.
Example sentences
  • Paul wasted no time getting the ball down the court and dished it off to Randall deep on the perimeter, who passed to Rob to score a basket easily over his shorter opponent.
  • Andrew set off on a charge at the defence before dishing it off to John for a shot, which ricocheted out to Richard.
  • But it would all change when John slipped a ball into his teammate who dished it off to Connor coming through at pace.



Pronunciation: /ˈdiSHˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural dishfuls)
Example sentences
  • She boiled many yams, mashed them, and took a great dishful of them round the district.
  • All I know is that they're addictive, and I could easily have eaten a few dishfuls of them had I not controlled myself.
  • To grow such a dishful of crystals is relatively easy.


Old English disc 'plate, bowl' (related to Dutch dis, German Tisch 'table'), based on Latin discus(see discus).

  • Dish is related to desk, which explains why corresponding forms in Dutch and German (disch and Tisch) mean ‘table’. All derive from Latin discus ( see disc), which English took directly from Latin. Dishes remained containers until the 20th century, when technology gave us the dish-shaped aerial and the modern satellite dish. The sense ‘a good-looking person’ took off in the USA in the early 20th century, as did dish the dirt, ‘to reveal scandal or gossip’.

Words that rhyme with dish

bish, fish, Frisch, Gish, knish, pish, squish, wish

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dish

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