Definition of spice in English:



  • 1An aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavour food, e.g. cloves, pepper, or cumin.

    ‘the cake is packed with spices’
    mass noun ‘sift together flour, baking powder, and mixed spice’
    • ‘The salted version often contains spices such as roasted cumin seeds or black pepper.’
    • ‘In Britain, food regulations currently allow only herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings to be irradiated.’
    • ‘Minced lamb or beef is whizzed in the food processor with the spices, fresh herbs and onion, then threaded on to thick, flat metal skewers or shaped into meatballs and cooked on a grill or in a hot pan.’
    • ‘The ingredients, spices, and aromatics are placed in the tagine with a mere spoonful of water.’
    • ‘Other spices include cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, and cloves.’
    • ‘Indian food is prepared with a variety of spices, including cumin, turmeric, chili powder, ginger, and garlic.’
    • ‘Nutmeg, pepper, caraway seeds, ground ginger and the curry spices of cumin and coriander are also worth considering.’
    • ‘Traditionally, the Chinese have used it as a food coloring, preservative and spice.’
    • ‘My wine is produced from a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, tubers, spices, and herbs, and it is drunk young and fresh.’
    • ‘There is something about the hops, which has a pine and grapefruit flavor and aroma that works well with coconut, cilantro, cumin, and other spices.’
    • ‘In addition, Pakistani American cuisine also includes such spices as cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, a result of Arab influence.’
    • ‘Put all the other curry paste ingredients in the bowl of a food processor with the ground spices and the water and process until you have a thick paste.’
    • ‘For this, mustard seeds and fresh green chillies are imperative, and the warming spices of cumin, coriander, and turmeric are standard.’
    • ‘There is no part of the world that is not home to a variety of spices; cumin, coriander, fennel, fenugreek, nigella, sesame, anise, the list is endless.’
    • ‘Place the spices, pepper, and thyme in a piece of cheesecloth.’
    • ‘Add the sauerkraut, juniper berries, garlic, wine, spices and salt and pepper.’
    • ‘Saute garlic, chiles, and whole spices like cumin or mustard seeds in oil so their flavors will permeate a dish.’
    • ‘Curcumin, which is responsible for the spice's yellow color, is known primarily as an anti-inflammatory with enormous potential.’
    • ‘The process involves marinating fruit, vegetables, herbs or spices in large containers.’
    • ‘The Romans were usually not big meat eaters and a lot of their normal meals involved vegetables, herbs and spices together with a wheat meal that looked like porridge.’
    flavouring, seasoning, herb
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    1. 1.1mass noun An element providing interest and excitement.
      ‘healthy rivalry adds spice to the game’
      • ‘And, as is the case with suits, choose one of this season's fashionable colors to add some spice to your look.’
      • ‘The story mode merely adds a pinch of spice to the game of chess.’
      • ‘To add extra spice to the proceedings the heavens opened at half time and the rain began to pour as both teams turned round 3 points apiece.’
      • ‘Phelps' decision to contest the 200m freestyle has added spice to the event, but he has yet to reveal the potency of the Dutchman.’
      • ‘The Italians, with their great tradition of international football, add a bit of spice to the occasion.’
      • ‘To add spice to the event, well-known TV personalities were introduced as the masters of ceremonies.’
      • ‘The game will be the first in three weeks for both teams and spectators, with a sizeable gate expected to roar the two sides on to success in the first game of 2005 with the derby element adding a touch of spice.’
      • ‘With so many new stables in the North Kerry area in recent times there will be very keen local rivalry in the event which should add spice to the proceedings.’
      • ‘And, if some spice has been added to the dance, that is because this comes with a fitness routine.’
      • ‘When the city's culinary scene threatens to lapse into boredom, there is someone who comes along promising to add a dash of spice to it.’
      • ‘The winter days may be getting darker and colder - all the more reason to organise a bright and cheerful get-together to warm the soul and add a bit of spice and zest to your holiday season.’
      • ‘All these add spice to Bhavani's idea of knowledge dissemination, her stand being that music has to reach across to the people and that ultimately, those who matter are the listeners.’
      • ‘Wiener's concerto is cool and neoclassical, incorporating elements of jazz for spice, not as the main ingredient.’
      • ‘Whether paying a little or a lot, most jar enthusiasts agree that colored jars add spice to their collection.’
      • ‘There are some variants that we have found add more spice / interest.’
      • ‘The new elements add just enough new spice to the already excellent package.’
      • ‘It added spice to the evening and gave us more to talk about.’
      • ‘The police officer is an interesting character and adds spice to the investigations.’
      • ‘To add a bit of spice, a celebrity panel contributes to the discussion.’
      • ‘Believe me, the usage of missiles and countermeasures adds a lot of spice to the game.’
      excitement, interest, colour, piquancy, spiciness, zest, savour, tang, sharpness, saltiness
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  • 2mass noun A russet or ginger colour.

    • ‘Replace summer shimmery pink and peaches with creamier, more satiny lip finishes - with a hint of shine-in soft shades of spice, bronze and taupe.’
  • 3Northern English mass noun Sweets; confectionery.

  • 4informal mass noun A type of synthetic cannabis.

    ‘he was smoking spice to cope with his anxiety’


[with object]often as adjective spiced
  • 1Flavour with spice.

    ‘turbot with a spiced sauce’
    • ‘But until recently, all the available dishes were based on a couple of sauces, alternatively spiced up with chillies or cooled down with yoghurt or cream.’
    • ‘We accompanied our dinner with strong bitter spiced Persian tea, poured from the ornate tea carafe.’
    • ‘On the hotter side, jalfrezi dishes are beautifully spiced, and for those with truly oversensitive tastebuds, the korma is mild without being bland.’
    • ‘They are brought to the table piping hot, along with a small bowl of mildly spiced tomato dipping sauce.’
    • ‘Eventually, dish after dish of sublimely spiced specialities came dashing out of the kitchen like a dramatic tour de force.’
    • ‘However, the curry was rich and flavourful, pungently spiced, with the medium heat level towards the upper reaches of my spice tolerance.’
    • ‘The drink is also spiced with geera or pepper in accordance with the taste of the customer.’
    • ‘The rice was dry as before, but the chicken was spiced beautifully.’
    • ‘The meat itself was exquisitely spiced and well cooked, surprisingly tender considering that the cubes were very firm under the knife.’
    • ‘I found this to be a pleasant, mildly spiced starter.’
    • ‘Gorgeous ripe cherry aromas and flavors of rose petals, spiced tea, and cherry jam.’
    • ‘Melons and oranges are often added to goat or chicken that has been strongly spiced with peppers and heavily seasoned with garlic.’
    • ‘The very dry palate is spiced with pepper on the finish.’
    • ‘This time I went with the lamb curry, it was mildly spiced and full of warm flavors, but the meat again disappointed.’
    • ‘The gently spiced meatballs are lightly textured, served on a bed of couscous with steamed carrots, turnip and onion.’
    • ‘I recommend spiced apricot sauce to serve with chicken.’
    • ‘Served on Italian bread, the chicken was lightly spiced and very tasty.’
    • ‘Many are spiced, or flavoured with lemon zest, and further embellished with nuts and dried or candied fruit.’
    • ‘The tangy curry tomato sauce, spiced with ginger, awakens the taste buds and is so delicious that it overshadows the flavour of the mid-sized shrimp.’
    • ‘We finished our meal with fresh mango juice and spiced coffee.’
    spicy, tangy, spiced, peppery, hot
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    1. 1.1 Make more interesting or exciting.
      ‘she was probably adding details to spice up the story’
      • ‘Now he has become one of the breed of sportspeople who spice up the pages of an otherwise take-it-or-leave-it book by having a cut at those in his own game - a bit of a back-stabber if you like.’
      • ‘Call yourself a graphic designer and you're identified as an artsy computer geek being hired to spice up a document with your wizardly technical skill.’
      • ‘This particular tabloid saw fit to urge readers to spice up their Sunday by studying something other than football and racing form; naked exploitation in the most explicit manner.’
      • ‘We spice up the action with a bit of intramural animosity between crewmembers, which gives the film an occasional shot of action, but mostly it's scenic.’
      • ‘Looking for ways to spice up your holiday liquor cabinet?’
      • ‘Decisions will have to be made in relation to the various championship formats, and then of course there will be the championship draws to spice up the occasion.’
      • ‘And he expects the status quo to remain the same this year, despite a raft of rule changes designed to spice up grand prix weekends.’
      • ‘Canned tomatoes are also extremely valuable - a humble can of tomatoes can easily be spiced up to form the basis of a wonderful meal.’
      • ‘And to spice up the controversy, the very people who ushered her into the sport are the ones clamoring to get her kicked out.’
      • ‘Sexy jazz vocals spice up transitions from one fantasy to the next tryst, and sometimes the characters mouth the words, fantasizing that they're singers, to great effect.’
      • ‘Written in the slang of a middle-class teenager from Sao Paulo, it is part diary, part blog and even offers how-to tips for readers looking to spice up their sex lives.’
      • ‘Like Pontius Pilate they are busy keeping themselves immaculate; but what they need is a bit of grit, a bit of blood on their hands to spice up what is, essentially, a good album.’
      • ‘The wild singer has struck up a close friendship with the TV presenter in recent weeks and Chris has asked him along to the lavish ceremony to spice up proceedings..’
      • ‘While Jack uses the sale to clear end of line stock etc, there are always a lot of interesting items from regular stock to spice up the event.’
      • ‘Glossy, colourful and full of mouth-watering ideas, celebrity cookbooks might be a great way to spice up meal times but many find they leave a bitter taste in the mouth.’
      • ‘Follow his advice and you can spice up your routine.’
      • ‘The song also features repetitive hand-clapping and a drum line sound, which serve to spice up the song as compared to the others.’
      • ‘He said the festival also encouraged young artistes to play musical instruments instead of relying on computers to spice up their sounds.’
      • ‘This was no contrived presentation of foreign exoticism to satisfy some state-granting agency looking to spice up multicultural awareness week.’
      • ‘The students used images sourced from the Internet and spiced it up with audio files to take the viewers on a virtual tour of a wildlife sanctuary.’
      liven up, make more exciting, enliven, revitalize, vitalize, perk up, put new life into, put some life into, put some spark into, ginger up, stir up, get going, galvanize, electrify, add some zest to, give a boost to, add some colour to
      View synonyms


Middle English: shortening of Old French espice, from Latin species ‘sort, kind’, in late Latin ‘wares’.