Definition of cream in English:



  • 1The thick white or pale yellow fatty liquid that rises to the top when milk is left to stand and that can be eaten as an accompaniment to desserts or used as a cooking ingredient.

    ‘strawberries and cream’
    [as modifier] ‘a cream sauce’
    • ‘The plant will produce condensed milk and cream, and a butter-producing line will be installed by next February.’
    • ‘Stir in yoghurt, cream, and coconut milk, and cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat.’
    • ‘The terrine batter itself is made of eggs, flour, milk, cream and/or butter.’
    • ‘You can also get vitamin D from cheese, butter, margarine, cream, fortified milk, fish, oysters and fortified cereals.’
    • ‘Put the chocolate into a blender and pour on the hot milk and cream and leave to stand for one minute.’
    • ‘Bring the milk and cream to the boil in a large saucepan and add the garlic, herbs and seasoning.’
    • ‘Combine the eggs and cream or evaporated milk with salt and pepper to taste.’
    • ‘What goes best with warm apple desserts - traditional cream, crème fraîche or mascarpone?’
    • ‘Yes, it's great to have some cream with your strawberries, and perhaps a slice of cheddar with your apple.’
    • ‘The latter was offered with milk and cream or marshmallow.’
    • ‘They would let whole milk stand for several hours until the lighter cream rose to the top.’
    • ‘Cutting out the obvious milk, butter, cream, yoghurt, and cheese is not enough.’
    • ‘There seem to be three types of Christmas cakes: chocolate, cheesecake, and the most popular sponge cake with cream and strawberries.’
    • ‘Pour the cream and evaporated milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil.’
    • ‘Serve with a scoop of ice-cream or accompany with cream or crème fraîche.’
    • ‘As such, cream would not rise to the top of a milk bottle and the entire mixture would be uniform.’
    • ‘In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, cream, and half the sugar to a boil.’
    • ‘I substitute condensed milk for cream and flavor it with allspice and ginger.’
    • ‘The condensed skim milk and cream are combined to create cheddar cheese.’
    • ‘Next, the milk is separated into skim milk and cream.’
    1. 1.1The part of a liquid that gathers at the top.
      • ‘By the time I reached her home the cream was clearing the jar in lumps.’
      • ‘After about ten hours the cream would rise to the top of the milk pans.’
      • ‘Mix one ounce of soap and one ounce of table salt with enough water to make a cream.’
      • ‘We're starting to see the cream rising to the top.’
    2. 1.2A sauce, soup, dessert, or similar food containing cream or milk or having the consistency of cream.
      ‘a can of cream of mushroom soup’
      • ‘Most of the time it didn't have any actual meat anyway, it was mostly stuffing and cream of chicken soup.’
      • ‘When an order comes in for cream of cauliflower soup it is poured from the pan, garnished with Parmesan and served.’
      • ‘Foods like fettuccine Alfredo or cream of crab soup are loaded with fat.’
      • ‘Inside a long, high room, on mustard and black linens, sits a bowl of gently curried cream of carrot soup.’
      • ‘There is Christmas Pudding with brandy cream sauce and Hot Mince Pie, and Fig Tarts.’
      • ‘It is the perfect raw material for that gourmet's dish, cream of parsley soup.’
      • ‘There was a choice of cream of broccoli soup, warm chicken liver salad, and herb and garlic crusted mussels.’
      • ‘Spoon some mushroom cream around the dish and garnish with chives and chervil.’
      • ‘On another station there was a baked salmon ‘Wellington’ in puff pastry, with three sauces, a seafood paella and a cream of seafood soup.’
      • ‘The next course of cream of barley soup was more to their liking.’
      • ‘You can also add it to canned soup, such as cream of tomato, or mix it into a salad.’
      • ‘Then I have a bag of freeze-dried supper - either chicken curry or cod in cream sauce.’
      • ‘There's only so much hot sauce you can add to cream of mushroom soup.’
      • ‘I choose cream of celery soup, followed by a terribly healthy spinach and avocado salad.’
      • ‘The teahouse also offers light meals such as sausage rice with cream sauce and curry beef rice.’
      • ‘Visitors can try making dishes like lobster cream sauce and sautéed flounder at the four-year-old Culinary Center of Monterey.’
      • ‘Pour the cream into serving dishes and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2-3 hours.’
      • ‘If there's space left over, I'll toss in my wife's recipe for cream of broccoli soup.’
      • ‘Mix tuna, egg, cheese and cream of mushroom soup together in a casserole dish with a wooden spoon until mixture is somewhat uniform.’
      • ‘My selection was one of the specials, cream of cauliflower soup and a sandwich in brown bread.’
    3. 1.3A candy of a specified flavor that is creamy in texture, typically covered with chocolate.
      ‘a peppermint cream’
      • ‘He informs Raina that only young, inexperienced soldiers carry cartridges into combat; older and savvier ones stock up on chocolate creams.’
      • ‘So I graduated to chocolate-dipped peppermint creams - so elegant that Mum would serve them with pride (mine and hers) with the coffee at the end of her dinner parties.’
      • ‘I fetched the bag, which smelt of diesel fumes and coconut creams, and quickly looked inside.’
      • ‘In most countries, including the rest of the English-speaking world, similar confections are referred to simply as coconut candies or coconut creams.’
      • ‘Determined to prove her innocence, she then paid various small children to buy sweets from the same shop where she had purchased the chocolate creams.’
  • 2A thick liquid or semisolid cosmetic or medical preparation applied to the skin.

    ‘shaving cream’
    [count noun] ‘moisturizing creams’
    • ‘Calendula petals can be used to make a nourishing skin cream or cleanser, and a strong infusion made from marigold petals can be used to lighten hair.’
    • ‘She tests every color on her face, with the joy of self-transformation shared by anyone who has ever put on a mask, makeup or shaving cream.’
    • ‘Apply an emollient cream or ointment after washing, bathing or showering and between baths or showers, as often as necessary.’
    • ‘A good shaving cream or bath lotion will protect your skin from razor burn.’
    • ‘Jim filled his doorway, face half covered in shaving cream, eyebrows creased with concern.’
    • ‘The locker rooms include shaving cream, deodorant, powder, blow dryers and lotion.’
    • ‘Keep your skin moisturized using creams and lotions designed to prevent stretch marks.’
    • ‘The basic skin cosmetics include cleansers, creams, and colorants.’
    • ‘He pulled out his razor and coated his face with shaving cream, preparing to shave, which he really needed to do.’
    • ‘The medicated cream could make the skin dry and cause itching.’
    • ‘As close as he is, Rena can smell his skin, with its faint scent of soap and shaving cream.’
    • ‘Put cream on your skin immediately after drying off.’
    • ‘After showering with this mixture, I slather on thick, rich cream for fresh, exfoliated skin.’
    • ‘Instead of shaving cream, use lotion or hair conditioner to shave.’
    • ‘If your moisturizing lotion or cream is giving you a rash or causing skin eruptions, lanolin could be the culprit.’
    • ‘If you are concerned about caring for your skin you can buy skin cream, bug balm and wind balm - all made from only natural ingredients.’
    • ‘Dry skin lotions, creams, or thicker preparations may be used to lubricate the skin, prevent fissures, and keep the skin pliable.’
    • ‘They can be applied directly to the skin as lotions, creams or ointments.’
    • ‘However, powder blusher is better for older skin than cream.’
    • ‘Finally, towel dry your head and use a non-comedogenic cream to moisturize your skin - it won't clog your pores.’
    lotion, ointment, rub, cosmetic, application, preparation, emollient, moisturizer, paste, gel, salve, unguent, embrocation, balm, liniment, pomade
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  • 3The very best of a group of people or things.

    ‘the paper's readership is the cream of American society’
    • ‘The cream of the film industry was at the ‘Unity of Light’ concert and they vied with one another to enthral the huge crowd.’
    • ‘The cream of the ADF's golfers will be driving for low handicaps and straight putts at the ADF National Golf Championships.’
    • ‘The cream of local amateur groups are appearing on Stratford's famous stages, packing out the houses for the autumn visitors' season.’
    • ‘The cream of Britain's funniest writers came out in force for the presentation of the first Saga Award for Wit at this year's Folkestone Literary Festival.’
    • ‘The cream of northern stand-up is coming to York in a show of solidarity for beleaguered York City fans.’
    • ‘The cream of Europe's squash juniors came to Dublin last weekend for the Irish Junior Open in Westwood.’
    • ‘Saturday is Breeders' Cup day Stateside, with the cream of American and European talent flocking to Belmont Park on the East Coast for a quite exhilarating series of races.’
    • ‘The cream of the British showbiz world is about to stage a concert for the troops, which will be beamed around the world by satellite.’
    • ‘The cream of British musical talent has been approached to take part in two spectacular concerts in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.’
    • ‘Friday the 13th may have a bad reputation with some people, but in Ballarat it proved to be a lucky day for those wanting to hear the cream of the next generation of jazz musicians.’
    • ‘The cream of Europe's railway operators are being encouraged to make bold bids to put Scotland's network on the right track for the 21st century.’
    • ‘The cream of Australia's theatrical crowd gathered at Walsh Bay for the opening of the $42-million Sydney Theatre.’
    • ‘The cream of South Africa's U16 rugby players arrive here tomorrow for the Coca-Cola-sponsored Grant Khomo tournament.’
    • ‘The cream of that consignment was the collection of Hudson River school landscapes and genre paintings owned by the late Luman Reed.’
    • ‘The cream of British rugby will run out on the hallowed turf in what is expected to be an intense battle for the Rose Bowl Trophy.’
    • ‘The cream of the local players were joined by bassist George Mitchell and reedman Donny McCaslin, who trekked in from New York.’
    • ‘The cream of world squash will be competing for a prize fund of $50,000 when they come to Manchester for the British Open championship in April.’
    • ‘The cream of the exhibition, however, are the works of fiction.’
    • ‘IN 1990, when the Solheim Cup was first contested, the idea was to bring together the cream of women's golf from either side of the Atlantic.’
    • ‘The cream of Scottish dinghy racers converged at the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club to do battle yesterday.’
    best, finest, first class, top, choice, choicest, flower, prize, treasure, pearl, gem, jewel, the jewel in the crown, the crème de la crème, a-list
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  • 4A very pale yellow or off-white color.

    ‘the dress is available in white or cream’
    [as modifier] ‘a cream linen jacket’
    • ‘Inside, the walls were all plastered and painted pale colours with cream carpets - very novel for the early 1970s in Ireland.’
    • ‘Your lucky colours are cream and white and green.’
    • ‘The ceiling was adorned with alternate colours of white and cream, and the windows were also coloured white.’
    • ‘In the first robbery he dressed in a three quarter length, cream coloured jacket with fur around the edges.’
    • ‘But when he opened the book, the paper looked an even, suspiciously pale cream colour that was free of brown spots and stains.’
    • ‘The cream colour scheme is complemented by a polished wood floor.’
    • ‘It is best to apply this technique over natural colours such as cream, beige, camel and terracotta to achieve a quality authentic finish.’
    • ‘Neutral colours like brown, cream and black are practical choices for this sort of bag.’
    • ‘It was painted a horrible cream colour completely covering the beautiful old brickwork.’
    • ‘My royal blue uniform skirt and cream coloured blouse were wrinkled slightly, though I paid it little attention.’
    • ‘The girl was white, in her mid to late teens, with fair hair, wearing a beige or cream hip length jacket.’
    • ‘Under the cream coloured jacket was a black shirt, with the top three buttons undone, imitating the model on the web page.’
    • ‘The popular colours are beige, cream, brown and copper which are ideal for showing off the intricate work.’
    • ‘The ceiling arched up to a height of thirty meters, and the entire room was a pale, dusty cream colour.’
    • ‘They range in colour from white and cream to green’
    • ‘His cream coloured earthenware was christened Queen's ware after Queen Charlotte, who appointed him Queen's Potter in 1762.’
    • ‘Male bullfrogs have a bright yellow throat while the throat of the female is cream colour.’
    • ‘He was clean shaven, tanned and wore cream coloured jeans, a white t-shirt and beige training shoes.’
    • ‘The building is of soft cream colour and its octagonal towers are crowned with cupolas.’
    • ‘He was wearing a light blue waist-length jacket and cream coloured tracksuit bottoms.’
    off-white, whitish, cream-coloured, creamy, ivory, yellowish-white, pearly
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  • 1Work (butter, typically with sugar) to form a smooth soft paste.

    • ‘Usually, recipes tell you to cream the butter with the sugar before adding the eggs.’
    • ‘Cream the butter, then gradually add the powdered sugar and remaining ingredients.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, cream the yeast in a bowl with the water and milk, then stir in the butter and keep stirring until it has melted into the mixture.’
    • ‘Cream the butter with the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.’
    • ‘Staff were even instructed to cream the butter before spreading to make sure customers got even less for their money.’
    • ‘In a food mixer (or with an electric hand-beater), cream the butter well then add the sugar and beat until fluffy.’
    • ‘To make the dough cream the butter or margarine with the sugar.’
    • ‘Cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly, then beat in the egg.’
    • ‘Add just a drop of water and cream this to a paste.’
    • ‘For the topping, cream the butter and sugar together and then gently stir in the nuts and berries.’
    • ‘In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.’
    • ‘Then I creamed a largish lump of butter into the flour and sugar mixture, worked it in with a spoon until it was all absorbed, and then poured the crumble mixture over the fruit.’
    • ‘In a mixing bowl, cream the dalda along with the icing sugar with your palm till light and creamy.’
    • ‘In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar; then add the eggs slowly, mixing well.’
    • ‘You need to have an electric mixer to use the method described, although it is also successful using the traditional method that begins with creaming the butter and sugar.’
    • ‘In another bowl she creamed the butter and sugar using the electric whisk Jack gave her, then added the eggs.’
    purée, cream, liquefy, pulp, crush, press
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    1. 1.1Mash (a cooked vegetable) and mix with milk or cream.
      ‘creamed turnips’
      • ‘His challenge was to eat creamed corn and cod liver oil.’
      • ‘Avoid entrées that are fried, fricasséed or creamed, and those sautéed or stir-fried in heavy oil.’
      • ‘I had plans to make a green bean dish, creamed onions, and a salad later, while the turkey was in the oven.’
      • ‘The mains all come with five choices of potatoes, (pan fried, French fried, pub fried, creamed or boiled) and a vegetable selection.’
      • ‘I started with country vegetable soup, which was creamed and acceptably hot.’
      • ‘We all had sides of mashed sweet potatoes, creamed spinach and onion rings.’
      • ‘The sprouts are ground, creamed and so sweet and nutty that I even ask for the recipe.’
      • ‘The vegetables include creamed cauliflower, mashed potato, roast potato, carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.’
      • ‘The noontime wedding menu includes chicken roast - chicken mixed with bread filling, mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed celery, pepper cabbage, and other items.’
      • ‘Were they cooked, creamed, fried, pickled, or raw?’
      • ‘As for sides there was creamed spinach, Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and onion rings.’
      • ‘He took from the table a white and blue china plate and held it in one hand while he filled it with ladles of smoked ham and thick sausages, stewed potatoes, creamed radishes, and warm cheeses with the other hand.’
      • ‘The main course - a showy prime rib roast, creamed spinach, and parsley potatoes - echoes the spirit of Christmas past in the best way.’
      • ‘A large colourful platter was produced which had a large helping of roast lamb garnished with diced turnip, fluffy creamed potatoes and carrot julienne.’
      • ‘I ordered two of my favorite dishes, Prime Rib and creamed spinach.’
      • ‘And the scalloped potatoes, creamed spinach, and macaroni and cheese almost make you forget you came for steak.’
      • ‘For the sides, we had German potatoes and creamed spinach.’
      • ‘There was turkey, ham, string beans, creamed corn, peas, carrots, turnips, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.’
      • ‘The spinach was creamed, not wilted, but that did add some flavour.’
      • ‘She cooked him creamed chicken and rice but didn't eat hers.’
      pulp, crush, purée, cream, smash, squash, pound, beat, macerate, liquidize, liquefy, whip, grind, mince, soften, mangle, chew
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    2. 1.2Add cream to (coffee)
      • ‘Sara moved her focus to the caramel of the creamed and honeyed coffee.’
  • 2Rub a cosmetic cream into (the skin)

    ‘Madge was creaming her face in front of the mirror’
    • ‘Because you are wearing sandals you attend to your feet - slough the dead skin off, cream them, paint their toenails - they therefore look great.’
    • ‘Even French women of modest means are much more likely than American women to get treatments in spas or clinics that scrub, polish, buff, massage and cream their skins.’
    spread, rub, daub, slap, slather, smother, plaster, cream, slick
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  • 3North American informal Defeat (someone) heavily, especially in a sports contest.

    • ‘Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that Khal had begun fighting Anax with the basic techniques and was easily creaming Anax.’
    • ‘Of course, Robby was creaming her.’
    • ‘‘We SO creamed you guys,’ Shannon said breathlessly as they sat down in the grass catching their breaths.’
    • ‘My daydreams of creaming him in a spit-off were instantly dashed.’
    • ‘Anyway, I don't want to watch the girls cream the guys so I'll see you guys later.’
    • ‘How can he cream him when he drops out of the race?’
    • ‘But once she had completely creamed him during a tournament he began to think differently about her.’
    • ‘Given how the South Africans were creaming the English, it might have been better to simply keep doing so and push for the win as quickly as possible.’
    • ‘Kim and I were creaming him on the fact that Indian girls have better clothes than the guys, hands down, when his dad suddenly sprung the infamous line.’
    • ‘The more time she spent with Leon, the more she wanted Chris to cream him at the strategic game.’
    • ‘Rebecca and I had creamed our opponents, and the whole team had gone out to Round Table to celebrate our victory.’
    • ‘Finally it came down to Jason and my sister, and I'm more than ecstatic to report that my sister creamed him, taking home the trophy and bragging rights, which she just happened to use on me for the rest of the week.’
    • ‘I figure he's too gentlemanly to hit a woman, and if he tries it, she'll cream him without even working up a sweat.’
    • ‘When I used my usual fighting method, right-handed, he creamed me (like he did pretty much everyone else).’
    • ‘He wasn't about to let Saki humiliate him by first ruining his computer and then creaming him.’
    • ‘The boys were creaming us every time. Even when they gave us a start they would catch us and overtake us.’
    • ‘Any defense lawyer worth his salt would cream her, and the true rapists would be set free to rape again.’
    • ‘She still decided to run, but we creamed her in the general election.’
    defeat, beat, best, get the better of, gain the advantage over, prevail over, triumph over, gain a victory over, trounce, rout, thrash, drub, vanquish, conquer, master, overcome, overwhelm, overpower, overthrow, crush, subdue, subjugate
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    1. 3.1Hit or collide heavily and violently with (someone), especially in a car.
      ‘she got creamed by a speeding car’
      • ‘The big lefty slugger creamed a low-and-away fastball into the rightfield upper deck for a two-run homer.’
      • ‘Paul opens his mouth like he's going to say something, and I cream him with a pillow first.’
  • 4vulgar slang [no object] (of a person) be sexually aroused, especially to the point of producing sexual secretions.

    1. 4.1[with object]Moisten (one's underpants) due to sexual arousal.


  • the cream of the crop

    • The very best of a particular group of people or things.

      ‘the researchers and institutions in this network are the cream of the crop’
      • ‘The cast may not be the cream of the crop.’
      • ‘In sports, the cream of the crop is skimmed at each level.’
      • ‘The cream of the crop are well represented on the recently released 25th anniversary set, a double-disc effort comprising 41 tracks.’
      • ‘He seemed the cream of the crop, loads of experience!’
      • ‘However, it is important to only rehire the cream of the crop!’
      • ‘Due to a cream of the crop matching service finding games is a cinch.’
      • ‘We've sifted through the newest influx of items to find the cream of the crop.’
      • ‘We're going to be looking at the top banana, the big kahuna, the cream of the crop.’
      • ‘The cream of the crop was selected to play for the national team.’
      • ‘Inbound tourist operators are the first to admit their jobs are the cream of the crop.’
      • ‘I'm pleased to have heard from the cream of the crop.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • cream something off

    • 1Take the best of a group of people or things, especially in a way that is considered unfair.

      ‘the schools cream off some of the better students’
      • ‘The specialized schools will continue to cream off the very best of our students, while the marginal and challenged are left behind in the general high school population.’
      • ‘Now admittedly, this is largely because of the fees being creamed off by the investment managers.’
      • ‘Neighbouring schools and boroughs complained that brighter children were being creamed off, seriously disadvantaging those schools which were still genuinely comprehensive.’
      • ‘They enable women to manage this double shift, but at the cost of their ambition, creating a twin-track labour market with men creaming off all the top jobs.’
      • ‘Any system which creams off the most academically gifted children and then submits them to a national test set by all pupils should have outstanding results.’
      • ‘His argument is that grammar schools depress standards by creaming off the most able pupils.’
      • ‘Lucky or prescient players would win fabulous prizes, and pure, unbiased, aggregate intelligence could be creamed off the top because markets always get it right in the end.’
      • ‘Of course, the small integrated schools will cream off a lot of the glory because of their name and ethos.’
      • ‘The result has been destructive with ‘top’ schools creaming off the best talent.’
      • ‘Who historically has skimmed the cream off the top?’
      pick and choose
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Make a disproportionate or excessive profit on a transaction.
        • ‘However, hosting the games cost NSW taxpayers about $2 billion, although the AOC creamed off a $100 million surplus which guaranteed its future.’
        • ‘He observes that in Germany the copyright union that ostensibly collects all of these taxes on resales from art dealers creams off 60 percent of everything that comes in to pay the salaries of the copyright union employees.’
        • ‘But the promises of prize money and appearance fees that illuminate a way out of poverty also make youngsters easy prey for unscrupulous agents looking to cream off a large share of the proceeds.’
        • ‘This allowed the regime to sell 10% more oil to pay for the imports and to cream the extra money off for itself.’
        • ‘He has been subjected to hours of questioning this week on the web of offshore companies which investigators suspect was used to cream off cash and provide a smoke screen to divert regulators.’
        • ‘Those active in the sector who were creaming it off during the boom are having to fight for business now.’
        • ‘In the past they were content with creaming off the surplus through bribes and insider dealing, but for some time now they have decided they want the lot.’
        • ‘Governments of all colours cream off taxes and then use them to bribe the special interest groups whose support they need.’
        • ‘Firstly, the less you invest the higher the percentage the company creams off your normal contribution.’
        • ‘While patient care suffered and continues to do so, numerous managers are creaming off the top with salaries that we as nurses can only dream about.’


Middle English: from Old French cresme, from a blend of late Latin cramum (probably of Gaulish origin) and ecclesiastical Latin chrisma (see chrism).