Definition of dish in US English:



  • 1A shallow, flat-bottomed container for cooking or serving food.

    ‘an ovenproof dish’
    • ‘Put the mince into a shallow baking dish and cover with the potato.’
    • ‘There are strict etiquettes about not touching the serving dishes with anything that has touched your mouth.’
    • ‘It is definitely not worth decanting something such as risotto into a serving dish; it should be ladled straight from the pan.’
    • ‘Sprinkle the parsley over as you toss them from the pan into a serving dish.’
    • ‘Remove to a shallow serving dish and add more oil and fish to the pan.’
    • ‘She smiled to herself as she slid it expertly out of the pan and onto the serving dish.’
    • ‘Remove to a serving dish and rest for about 10 minutes.’
    • ‘Transfer the baked pasta parcels to a serving dish and spoon the yogurt over them.’
    • ‘Near the street of the meat shops was a stall containing large shallow clay dishes filled with yoghurt.’
    • ‘Arrange these in overlapping rings on a serving dish.’
    • ‘Place cream cheese in a shallow glass casserole dish.’
    • ‘When the chicken is cooked, remove the roasting dish from the oven, and transfer the chicken onto a serving dish.’
    • ‘Thankfully I've managed to exercise a containment policy that means that we only have six small plates, a large baking dish and a serving platter.’
    • ‘Remove serving dishes from the table after each course.’
    • ‘Glass is blown or molded into many shapes for decorative items, and for beverage glasses and other eating and serving dishes.’
    • ‘While it is heating, heat the oven to 250 degrees and put a large shallow baking dish in it.’
    • ‘All the serving bowls, dishes in the dinner set will come with lids, he adds.’
    • ‘Depending on the menu I use suitably sized serving dishes, too, rather than plating the meal at the counter.’
    • ‘One of them tossed the contents of a sauté pan into a serving dish and turned to bring it over to the cart.’
    • ‘So I have four place settings of cheap crockery, one pan, and two serving dishes.’
    bowl, plate, soup plate, platter, salver
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    1. 1.1 The food contained or served in a dish.
      ‘a dish of oysters’
      • ‘She sighed, and then walked downstairs to get a dish of ice cream.’
      • ‘The fish and meat flavours burst through the tasty sauce, and a dish of basmati rice proved to be a great partner.’
      • ‘There were four of them, served with a dish of melted garlic butter, and another of hot salsa sauce.’
      • ‘He grabbed a dish of food and pretended to be one of the servants.’
      • ‘They also served, free of charge, a dish of raw cabbage with the beer.’
      • ‘A dish of strawberries arrived at our table with a Happy Anniversary message.’
      • ‘Have you ever sat in front of a dish of peanuts at a party?’
      • ‘The only food available was a dish of baked beans almost solid with their wait under the hot lights and a plate of sausages that looked as if they'd been there since the place was built.’
      • ‘However, I always have a dish of finely grated hard cheese to sprinkle over.’
      • ‘Servers would hold out a dish of food, and we would each take a serving.’
      • ‘There was usually a dish of overcooked pasta for those who insist on eating something they will easily recognise.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that you should have a glass of hot, sweet, amber tea, and if your sweet tooth is acting up, try a dish of figs with cream for dessert.’
      • ‘The chief meat-eater among us opted for the assiette de charcuterie, a dish of ham, pork and salami with chicken pâté, served with oatcakes and olives.’
      • ‘This week's question: Do you have a dish of candy on your desk?’
      • ‘They had taken their leave of Maralynne and Chester, after a dish of ice cream each for dessert and about a dozen compliments for their hostess.’
      • ‘Beneath the first cover was a dish of steaming pork chops.’
      • ‘Two hot crumpets accompanied by wrapped butter in a small dish together with a dish of blackcurrant jam were excellent.’
      • ‘One of them immediately came around with dinner menus, followed by a dish of snack mix, and then a cart from which drinks were handed out.’
      • ‘A waiter zipped over and deposited two glasses of water and a dish of mixed nuts on their table, took their drink orders, and hurried off.’
      • ‘Scrape it onto your plate and use it to smother a dish of new potatoes - mountain food at its best.’
      recipe, item of food, course
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    2. 1.2 A particular variety or preparation of food served as part of a meal.
      ‘fresh fish dishes’
      ‘pasta was served as a main dish’
      • ‘A woman chef cooks traditional dishes in the open kitchen.’
      • ‘The emphasis is on local fish and shellfish while salads, sandwiches and simple pasta dishes make up the rest of the summer menu.’
      • ‘Let me give you three examples from my files of vegetarian pasta dishes.’
      • ‘For a main dish bake a pie with pumpkin, yam and potato.’
      • ‘Most households will normally content themselves with one main dish for their daily meals.’
      • ‘We sprinkle this coral powder over fish dishes, risottos and creamy sauces for pasta.’
      • ‘Crisp, fresh rose sparklers may be the best partners for garlicky or spicy seafood dishes.’
      • ‘If you opt for a fish dish for your main meal, diver harvested scallops wrapped in bacon with hollandaise sauce is sure to get the mouth watering.’
      • ‘Holiday meals also include a main dish of chicken and rice prepared with added vegetables and raisins.’
      • ‘Late at night, a main meal with several dishes is served.’
      • ‘This would make a great side with fish for instance, or can be served as a main dish.’
      • ‘Otherwise we could choose from 30 seafood dishes on the standard menu, most containing prawns.’
      • ‘It's an old fashion diner with great service and even better food, even if their main dish is a hamburger and fries.’
      • ‘A variety of special dishes are prepared from fresh ingredients for ceremonial occasions by the woman of the house and her female maids.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Dinner is a large meal typically including soup and a main dish consisting of meat and vegetables.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, the vegetarian stew may be one of the heartiest dishes on the menu.’
      • ‘It is perfect as a starter before something more meaty, but good too as a main dish in its own right.’
      • ‘Students were asked to prepare a vegetarian dish, with eight winners offered a tour of the hotel.’
      menu item
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    3. 1.3the 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’
      • ‘The paper reveals that he insisted on clearing up the dishes after dinner.’
      • ‘Melissa put the last of the dishes in the dishwasher and sighed.’
      • ‘Grumbling, she went to the kitchen and began to wash the breakfast dishes.’
      • ‘I place the dirty dishes in the sink.’
      • ‘We quickly threw the dishes in the dishwasher and headed for the doorway.’
      • ‘All that sitting around twiddling my thumbs, and pretty soon even the dishes seemed like an interesting option.’
      • ‘As the four of us stood to gather the dishes together, the door opened and out stepped Madame Force and the priest.’
      • ‘Their mom just rolled her eyes and went back to washing the breakfast dishes.’
      • ‘Brian gathered the dishes from the table and carried them to the kitchen sink.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Try writing her a poem, painting a picture, composing a song, framing a picture, washing the dishes for her or simply spending the day in her company.’
      • ‘Andrew informed me as Molly got up to gather the dishes.’
      • ‘I do the dishes every night after dinner, but there is little attention to the quality of my efforts.’
      • ‘We finished up our breakfast and put I dishes in the dishwasher.’
      • ‘Dinner over with, she would help to wash the dishes at our little kitchen sink.’
      • ‘She dished out the food into a bowl and placed the dirty dishes in the sink.’
      • ‘As Jessica brought the dishes in the kitchen, Louis quickly checked on the clock.’
      • ‘On Monday evening, while Anne was washing dishes in the kitchen, her eight-year-old daughter came running in.’
      • ‘I was washing the dishes in the kitchen, when I felt a tug on my jeans.’
      • ‘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.’
      dishes, plates, cups and saucers, crockery, dinner service, tea service
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  • 2usually with modifier A shallow, concave receptacle, especially one intended to hold a particular substance.

    ‘a water dish’
    • ‘I now keep her food and water dishes in the same location she is used to in both her home cage and her travel cage.’
    • ‘And I often wonder about the Nick and Nora who formerly owned my funky old cocktail set - a shaker and ice dish festooned with dancing pink elephants.’
    • ‘From their studies of cells in laboratory dishes, the researchers suggest that a protein component of the prevenom jams the mechanism that would normally counter a flood of potassium across a sting victim's cell membranes.’
    • ‘Much later, he crept downstairs and drank from his water dish, but he wasn't his old self and took no notice of me.’
    • ‘Alexander Fleming was an excellent microbiologist, very skilled and observant, and he always checked old culture dishes before throwing them out just to see what might turn up.’
    • ‘She was satisfied with her purchases: an air freshener for her Dad, a black cherry candle for her Mom, and a water dish for the kitten she hoped Santa would bring her sisters.’
    • ‘Chicks should be able to dip only their beaks into the water dish, so place pebbles, marbles, or a screen in the dish.’
    • ‘I do have a candy dish on my desk.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One of the ladies came up with the idea of bringing back such stones to put on her coffee table in a candy dish from which friends could take a very special treat.’
    • ‘I picked up a chocolate from a candy dish in the living room, removed the foil, and it crumbled into a white, ashy heap in the palm of my hand.’
    • ‘The child would be conceived in a lab dish, using the same experimental procedure being tested in Boston to help couples with HIV have children without passing on virus.’
    • ‘He picked up the bonbon dish that lay on the table beside him and ate the pink confection.’
    • ‘Add a small water plant in a bonsai dish, rocks, a submersible pump, and a bamboo spout.’
    • ‘Sit outside and your pooch can sit with you, complete with his own water dish and a dog biscuit made on the premises.’
    bowl, plate, soup plate, platter, salver
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    1. 2.1 A bowl-shaped radio antenna.
      • ‘National television, which has its studios nearby, uses satellite dishes on the roof of the building.’
      • ‘We're not even allowed to put satellite dishes up but they're putting up a massive tower.’
      • ‘Other aspects to the application are six antennas, four communication dishes, a security fence and storage cabins.’
      • ‘It is technically possible for the firms to mount their antennae and receiver dishes on to the existing police mast.’
      • ‘With the retirement of the old professor, the observatory was going to be turned into a museum, as soon as the new radar dish was completed.’
      • ‘She says she researches the Afghan war five hours a day, using the Internet, radio, newspapers, phone, and a satellite dish that picks up Al Jazeera, an Arab news network.’
      • ‘Since the launch of small dish digital satellite services in 1994, more than 15 million people have signed on.’
      • ‘Yes, the equipment you get - the satellite TV dish and satellite TV receiver - is free.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He's not that handy, but he does know how to position the motor coach so the satellite TV dish will work.’
      • ‘The mast is designed to carry antennae and communication dishes and the application included associated ground-level equipment cabinets.’
      • ‘The radar antenna dish then scanned up and down to provide the operators with the estimated height of the aircraft.’
      • ‘The mast will have six antennae and four dishes.’
      • ‘The application is to erect a 15-metre mast with six antenna and two dishes to be built within a compound.’
      • ‘Precipitation, like rain or snow or hail, sends the radio waves back to the radar dish.’
  • 3informal A sexually attractive person.

    ‘I gather he's quite a dish’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘He's a dish who's happy to talk about emotions and loves his mum.’
    • ‘He's a dish and, what's more, he's going to propose marriage.’
    • ‘Quite a dish, I'm sure our female readers will agree.’
    beauty, belle, goddess, venus, siren, dream, vision, picture, sensation, joy to behold
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    1. 3.1one's dishdated 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’
  • 4the dishinformal Information which is not generally known or available.

    ‘if he has the real dish I wish he'd tell us’
  • 5Concavity 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.

    • ‘This won't work because the wheel will end up way out of dish and the tire will likely rub the kickstand-side chainstay.’
    • ‘As well, the left and right side wheels can be swapped around so that the wheel dish rims face in for a narrower harvester profile in selective work.’
    • ‘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]
  • 1dish something out/upPut food on to a plate or plates before a meal.

    ‘Steve was dishing up vegetables’
    • ‘While Jeremy dished it up, I threw together a salad in the kitchen.’
    • ‘If you have children you just whip it out of the freezer and dish it up.’
    • ‘Hailing from a humble Christian home, he has to make do with whatever food is dished out to him in the school boarding.’
    • ‘As Stephanie dishes the meal out onto plates and takes it over to the table, the familiar clunk of the front door closing fills the house.’
    • ‘Somehow he had managed to uncover enough to fix eggs and coffee and was dishing them up.’
    • ‘As you pass across the buffet, point to four foods that you want and the cooks will dish it out and put it on your plate.’
    • ‘More than 2,000 portions of strawberries are dished out on the village green during the two-day event, planned for July 10 and 11.’
    • ‘I'd serve this with some fragrant rice - a pilaf or something, jazzed up maybe with some orange peel, cloves, star anise, or a cardamom pod - but remember to take them out before you dish it up.’
    • ‘She quickly dished the food out onto their plates before sitting down at the table as well.’
    • ‘Stirring it around for a while, she then dished it up into a big bowl, put water into both her cooking pots, and took her dinner out onto the roof, where she ate among the stars.’
    • ‘Nathan hesitated calling for Alice to quickly dish something up for him and he wasn't sure why.’
    • ‘No one said a word as the food was dished out and even after we'd all sat down nobody spoke.’
    • ‘Because the pasta can be a little slippery, a big serving spoon or ladle is recommended for dishing 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.’
    • ‘Sugar or honey and spices were also poured over the bread before it was dished up.’
    • ‘The pudding must then be boiled for four hours and a half; when done, dish it up with a German custard sauce over it.’
    • ‘He went over to the fridge and dished them up some ice cream.’
    • ‘And thanks to donations from farms and supermarkets more breakfasts were dished out yesterday than since the event started in 1999.’
    • ‘He grabs four bowls and dishes them up with pasta that he made.’
    • ‘It's the kind of wholesome, hearty food you'd make at home, if you were inclined to grind your own spicy sausage and dish it up in a garlicky broth of white beans and sprightly greens, with a couple crunchy crostini to sop up the juice.’
    distribute, dispense, issue, disburse, hand out, give out, pass out, pass round
    serve, serve up, spoon out, ladle out, scoop out
    present, offer, produce, prepare
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1dish something out Dispense something in a casual or indiscriminate way.
      ‘the banks dished out loans to all and sundry’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No, even when indictments, charges and massive fines have been dished out, these people seem unable to admit they've done anything wrong.’
      • ‘The hampers will be dished out to families on the estate who have been recommended by health professionals like midwives, social workers or health visitors.’
      • ‘The sacks will be dished out at this week's roadshow to promote our new look paper.’
      • ‘And, to ensure runners are given an accurate timing, special microchips, which are attached to running shoes will be dished out.’
      • ‘Referee-style whistles are dished out and they even suggest a red and yellow card system.’
      • ‘By Monday afternoon, however, the water had cut off gas supplies to about 300 other homes in eight streets in the area and emergency heaters were dished out to residents.’
      • ‘Ten free seminars have been dished out to the public on topical issues covering varied dimensions.’
      • ‘Around this time of year, awards are dished out to the great and the good of sportswriting.’
      • ‘What happens after the festival awards are dished out, after the cinemas count their box office takings, after the international seminars and critical studies?’
      • ‘Between September and May, 834 tickets were dished out on the street - more than any other road in East Lancashire.’
      • ‘The Constabulary estimates around 1,000 fixed penalty notices will be dished out within the first year of the system being operational.’
      • ‘It is a short step to corruption if grants are dished out on very vague criteria.’
      • ‘So, fittingly, the event will be launched at The Valley on Saturday, where free pedometers will be dished out.’
      • ‘Once the phone calls, text messages and posted votes had been counted, trophies and framed portraits were dished out to the winners.’
      • ‘Back by popular demand is the bar person of the month awards, but this year awards will be dished out to patrons either side of the bars.’
      • ‘And 8,000 more tickets could be dished out to drivers next year.’
      • ‘Their mistakes were made all the more unpalatable by the largesse with which our cash is dished out to undeserving causes.’
      distribute, dispense, issue, disburse, hand out, give out, pass out, pass round
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    2. 1.2dish 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?’
      present, offer, produce, prepare
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3dish it outinformal Subject others to criticism or punishment.
      ‘you can dish it out but you can't take it’
      • ‘I am prepared to put up with it, because if he is prepared to sow it, then I can dish it out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Diary journalists, who only ever write anonymously, can dish it out but they aren't prepared to take it…’
    4. 1.4North American informal no object Gossip or share information, especially information of an intimate or scandalous nature.
      ‘groups gather to brag about babies and dish about romances’
      • ‘How to be a good gossip: dishing at work isn't always a bad thing.’
      • ‘The host dishes about Simon and shares her emotional struggle with an eating disorder.’
      • ‘The three of them planned on scaring themselves silly watching horror movies, gouging themselves on junk food, and stay up late dishing gossip.’
      • ‘If you've never heard a juicy tidbit you weren't dying to dish, take a gander at your gossip groove.’
      • ‘Our friends talked shop for a while, dishing on backstage gossip about the other artists.’
  • 2British informal Utterly destroy, confound, or defeat (someone or something).

    • ‘The newspaper supported the war, but this is a chance to dish the government on grounds of spin.’
    • ‘There is a good chance your friend dished your rotor when he bent it back.’
    • ‘Pasting one's own posters over an opponents posters was one of the favourite methods of ‘em>dishing’ the opposition.’
    • ‘You argue that he had dished the opposition, outmanoeuvred them, tactically closed them down and as a result, couldn't help allowing himself a mordant little smile.’
    • ‘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.’
    destroy, put an end to, bring to an end, be the end of, end, extinguish, dash, quell, quash, ruin, wreck, shatter, smash, crush, scotch
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  • 3Give concavity to (a wheel) by tensioning the spokes.

    See dish (sense 5 of the noun)
    • ‘There are 4 different things that you need to bring under control to complete the job: lateral truing, vertical truing, dishing, and tensioning.’
    • ‘The geometry stays the same and the rear wheel is dished exactly as the standard setup.’
    • ‘Could I have effectively dished the wheel to the right by overtightening the right spokes too much?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I dished the wheel and retensioned it. Finally, I checked the chain line when it all went together.’


  • dish the dirt

    • informal Reveal or spread scandalous information or gossip.

      • ‘They're dishing the dirt on their former bosses, revealing juicy details about their egos, failings and potentially illegal behaviour.’
      • ‘Perhaps it's post-summer holiday blues, but there are plenty of people ready to dish the dirt on their chosen trade.’
      • ‘Why have they taken three months to dish the dirt on you?’
      • ‘The newspaper reports that another whistleblower could be about to dish the dirt.’
      • ‘Some scenes, like those where the womenfolk do each other's hair and dish the dirt on their men, are rare and genuine moments.’
      • ‘Meanwhile a drag artist has set up a fitness studio which dishes the dirt on celebs while clients work out.’
      • ‘Still, he does not appear to go out of his way to dish the dirt.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On eviction you will also be required to visit the diary room to vent your spleen and dish the dirt as you see fit.’
      • ‘She dishes the dirt on another home secretary’
      divulge, disclose, tell, let out, let slip, let drop, let fall, give away, give the game away, give the show away, blurt, blurt out, babble, give out, release, leak, betray, open up, unveil, bring out into the open
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • dish something off

    • Pass the ball to a teammate, especially in basketball.

      • ‘Andrew set off on a charge at the defence before dishing it off to John for a shot, which ricocheted out to Richard.’
      • ‘But does he dish the ball off to one of the Indiana big men?’
      • ‘But it would all change when John slipped a ball into his teammate who dished it off to Connor coming through at pace.’
      • ‘In the 19th Ronald ran by several defenders and then dished the ball off to Jon, who shot high and wide.’
      • ‘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.’


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