Definition of dish in US English:



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

    ‘an ovenproof dish’
    • ‘Remove to a shallow serving dish and add more oil and fish to the pan.’
    • ‘All the serving bowls, dishes in the dinner set will come with lids, he adds.’
    • ‘Arrange these in overlapping rings on a serving dish.’
    • ‘Glass is blown or molded into many shapes for decorative items, and for beverage glasses and other eating and serving dishes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She smiled to herself as she slid it expertly out of the pan and onto the serving dish.’
    • ‘Place cream cheese in a shallow glass casserole dish.’
    • ‘Remove serving dishes from the table after each course.’
    • ‘Sprinkle the parsley over as you toss them from the pan into a serving dish.’
    • ‘Put the mince into a shallow baking dish and cover with the potato.’
    • ‘It is definitely not worth decanting something such as risotto into a serving dish; it should be ladled straight from the pan.’
    • ‘While it is heating, heat the oven to 250 degrees and put a large shallow baking dish in it.’
    • ‘So I have four place settings of cheap crockery, one pan, and two serving dishes.’
    • ‘Remove to a serving dish and rest for about 10 minutes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Depending on the menu I use suitably sized serving dishes, too, rather than plating the meal at the counter.’
    • ‘There are strict etiquettes about not touching the serving dishes with anything that has touched your mouth.’
    • ‘When the chicken is cooked, remove the roasting dish from the oven, and transfer the chicken onto a serving dish.’
    • ‘One of them tossed the contents of a sauté pan into a serving dish and turned to bring it over to the cart.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was usually a dish of overcooked pasta for those who insist on eating something they will easily recognise.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A dish of strawberries arrived at our table with a Happy Anniversary message.’
      • ‘Servers would hold out a dish of food, and we would each take a serving.’
      • ‘Scrape it onto your plate and use it to smother a dish of new potatoes - mountain food at its best.’
      • ‘Two hot crumpets accompanied by wrapped butter in a small dish together with a dish of blackcurrant jam were excellent.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This week's question: Do you have a dish of candy on your desk?’
      • ‘Have you ever sat in front of a dish of peanuts at a party?’
      • ‘He grabbed a dish of food and pretended to be one of the servants.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There were four of them, served with a dish of melted garlic butter, and another of hot salsa sauce.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, I always have a dish of finely grated hard cheese to sprinkle over.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They also served, free of charge, a dish of raw cabbage with the beer.’
      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’
      • ‘The emphasis is on local fish and shellfish while salads, sandwiches and simple pasta dishes make up the rest of the summer menu.’
      • ‘Late at night, a main meal with several dishes is served.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, the vegetarian stew may be one of the heartiest dishes on the menu.’
      • ‘This would make a great side with fish for instance, or can be served as a main dish.’
      • ‘Let me give you three examples from my files of vegetarian pasta dishes.’
      • ‘A variety of special dishes are prepared from fresh ingredients for ceremonial occasions by the woman of the house and her female maids.’
      • ‘Dinner is a large meal typically including soup and a main dish consisting of meat and vegetables.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is perfect as a starter before something more meaty, but good too as a main dish in its own right.’
      • ‘We sprinkle this coral powder over fish dishes, risottos and creamy sauces for pasta.’
      • ‘For a main dish bake a pie with pumpkin, yam and potato.’
      • ‘Holiday meals also include a main dish of chicken and rice prepared with added vegetables and raisins.’
      • ‘Dinner consists of fresh fruit, homemade soup, and a main dish with meat or fish accompanied by rice and/or potatoes.’
      • ‘A woman chef cooks traditional dishes in the open kitchen.’
      • ‘Students were asked to prepare a vegetarian dish, with eight winners offered a tour of the hotel.’
      • ‘Most households will normally content themselves with one main dish for their daily meals.’
      • ‘And remember, don't think of them as mere side dishes - hearty vegetables can serve as the main dish for a meal.’
      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’
      • ‘All that sitting around twiddling my thumbs, and pretty soon even the dishes seemed like an interesting option.’
      • ‘Dinner over with, she would help to wash the dishes at our little kitchen sink.’
      • ‘As the four of us stood to gather the dishes together, the door opened and out stepped Madame Force and the priest.’
      • ‘Brian gathered the dishes from the table and carried them to the kitchen sink.’
      • ‘The paper reveals that he insisted on clearing up the dishes after dinner.’
      • ‘I do the dishes every night after dinner, but there is little attention to the quality of my efforts.’
      • ‘She dished out the food into a bowl and placed the dirty dishes in the sink.’
      • ‘I was washing the dishes in the kitchen, when I felt a tug on my jeans.’
      • ‘As Jessica brought the dishes in the kitchen, Louis quickly checked on the clock.’
      • ‘Andrew informed me as Molly got up to gather the dishes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Melissa put the last of the dishes in the dishwasher and sighed.’
      • ‘On Monday evening, while Anne was washing dishes in the kitchen, her eight-year-old daughter came running in.’
      • ‘Grumbling, she went to the kitchen and began to wash the breakfast dishes.’
      • ‘I place the dirty dishes in the 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.’
      • ‘We finished up our breakfast and put I dishes in the dishwasher.’
      • ‘We quickly threw the dishes in the dishwasher and headed for the doorway.’
      • ‘Their mom just rolled her eyes and went back to washing the breakfast dishes.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Add a small water plant in a bonsai dish, rocks, a submersible pump, and a bamboo spout.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sit outside and your pooch can sit with you, complete with his own water dish and a dog biscuit made on the premises.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chicks should be able to dip only their beaks into the water dish, so place pebbles, marbles, or a screen in the dish.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I do have a candy dish on my desk.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Much later, he crept downstairs and drank from his water dish, but he wasn't his old self and took no notice of me.’
    • ‘He picked up the bonbon dish that lay on the table beside him and ate the pink confection.’
    • ‘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.’
    bowl, plate, soup plate, platter, salver
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    1. 2.1 A bowl-shaped radio antenna.
      • ‘It is technically possible for the firms to mount their antennae and receiver dishes on to the existing police mast.’
      • ‘Since the launch of small dish digital satellite services in 1994, more than 15 million people have signed on.’
      • ‘The application is to erect a 15-metre mast with six antenna and two dishes to be built within a compound.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Precipitation, like rain or snow or hail, sends the radio waves back to the radar dish.’
      • ‘The mast will have six antennae and four dishes.’
      • ‘He's not that handy, but he does know how to position the motor coach so the satellite TV dish will work.’
      • ‘However in the meantime a dish aerial appeared on the roof of the building without planning consent.’
      • ‘Yes, the equipment you get - the satellite TV dish and satellite TV receiver - is free.’
      • ‘National television, which has its studios nearby, uses satellite dishes on the roof of the building.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Other aspects to the application are six antennas, four communication dishes, a security fence and storage cabins.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We're not even allowed to put satellite dishes up but they're putting up a massive tower.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Quite a dish, I'm sure our female readers will agree.’
    • ‘As for Ben, well frankly he's a dish!’
    • ‘He's a dish and, what's more, he's going to propose marriage.’
    • ‘He's a dish who's happy to talk about emotions and loves his mum.’
    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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘Meat pies would be dished up with sauce squeezed by the lady behind the counter and full strength beers would be served in bottles.’
    • ‘She quickly dished the food out onto their plates before sitting down at the table as well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you have children you just whip it out of the freezer and dish it up.’
    • ‘Because the pasta can be a little slippery, a big serving spoon or ladle is recommended for dishing it up.’
    • ‘He went over to the fridge and dished them up some ice cream.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hailing from a humble Christian home, he has to make do with whatever food is dished out to him in the school boarding.’
    • ‘And thanks to donations from farms and supermarkets more breakfasts were dished out yesterday than since the event started in 1999.’
    • ‘Sugar or honey and spices were also poured over the bread before it was dished up.’
    • ‘Nathan hesitated calling for Alice to quickly dish something up for him and he wasn't sure why.’
    • ‘While Jeremy dished it up, I threw together a salad in the kitchen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He grabs four bowls and dishes them up with pasta that he made.’
    • ‘Somehow he had managed to uncover enough to fix eggs and coffee and was dishing them 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.’
    • ‘No one said a word as the food was dished out and even after we'd all sat down nobody spoke.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘What happens after the festival awards are dished out, after the cinemas count their box office takings, after the international seminars and critical studies?’
      • ‘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 8,000 more tickets could be dished out to drivers next year.’
      • ‘Between September and May, 834 tickets were dished out on the street - more than any other road in East Lancashire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Their mistakes were made all the more unpalatable by the largesse with which our cash is dished out to undeserving causes.’
      • ‘The Constabulary estimates around 1,000 fixed penalty notices will be dished out within the first year of the system being operational.’
      • ‘So, fittingly, the event will be launched at The Valley on Saturday, where free pedometers will be dished out.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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, to ensure runners are given an accurate timing, special microchips, which are attached to running shoes will be dished out.’
      • ‘Ten free seminars have been dished out to the public on topical issues covering varied dimensions.’
      • ‘No, even when indictments, charges and massive fines have been dished out, these people seem unable to admit they've done anything wrong.’
      • ‘Once the phone calls, text messages and posted votes had been counted, trophies and framed portraits were dished out to the winners.’
      • ‘It is a short step to corruption if grants are dished out on very vague criteria.’
      • ‘Around this time of year, awards are dished out to the great and the good of sportswriting.’
      • ‘Referee-style whistles are dished out and they even suggest a red and yellow card system.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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…’
      • ‘I am prepared to put up with it, because if he is prepared to sow it, then I can dish it out.’
    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’
      • ‘Our friends talked shop for a while, dishing on backstage gossip about the other artists.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How to be a good gossip: dishing at work isn't always a bad thing.’
  • 2British informal Utterly destroy, confound, or defeat (someone or something).

    • ‘Pasting one's own posters over an opponents posters was one of the favourite methods of ‘em>dishing’ the opposition.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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 dished the wheel and retensioned it. Finally, I checked the chain line when it all went together.’
    • ‘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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some scenes, like those where the womenfolk do each other's hair and dish the dirt on their men, are rare and genuine moments.’
      • ‘She dishes the dirt on another home secretary’
      • ‘Meanwhile a drag artist has set up a fitness studio which dishes the dirt on celebs while clients work out.’
      • ‘Perhaps it's post-summer holiday blues, but there are plenty of people ready to dish the dirt on their chosen trade.’
      • ‘The newspaper reports that another whistleblower could be about to dish the dirt.’
      • ‘Why have they taken three months to dish the dirt on you?’
      • ‘On eviction you will also be required to visit the diary room to vent your spleen and dish the dirt as you see fit.’
      • ‘Still, he does not appear to go out of his way to dish the dirt.’
      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 it would all change when John slipped a ball into his teammate who dished it off to Connor coming through at pace.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the 19th Ronald ran by several defenders and then dished the ball off to Jon, who shot high and wide.’
      • ‘But does he dish the ball off to one of the Indiana big men?’


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