Definition of gherkin in US English:



  • 1The small green fruit of a plant related to the cucumber, used for pickling.

    • ‘Serve with salad, gherkins and cold sliced cured meats and ham.’
    • ‘A good Saturday lunch with toast, gherkins and fat black olives.’
    • ‘Bring to the boil and when it thickens add a nice spoon of good hot mustard and finish the sauce off with chopped gherkins if you like and some capers.’
    • ‘The gherkins, dills and cornichons are used almost exclusively for pickles.’
    • ‘Worryingly, he tries to enter a debate on cucumbers and gherkins, which is the sort of discussion we know just ends in tears.’
    • ‘Then make up a tartare sauce of mayonnaise, horseradish, chopped capers, red onions, gherkins and chives, and get dunking.’
    • ‘You should be able to see ingredients like gherkins and capers in tartare sauce.’
    • ‘Fresh cucumbers and gherkins, canned vegetables, and sunflower oil, exported within the fixed quotas, are exempt from custom duties.’
    • ‘They use the real gherkins, not just ordinary cucumbers.’
    • ‘Dill and gherkins seem to cut the richness of oily fish such as salmon, and make a good complement to hot-smoked salmon.’
    • ‘That was a thick baguette, holed out and stuffed with ham, cheese, gherkins, parsley, cream cheese and boiled eggs, all chopped up.’
    • ‘Top with the sliced tomatoes, add more ketchup, then add the gherkins.’
    • ‘To make the piccalilli, mix the gherkins, cauliflower (broken into very small florets), and red pepper.’
    • ‘Serve the steaks on a plate, place an onion ring on each of them and fill it with peppers, parsley and gherkins.’
    • ‘For home-made tartare sauce, add some finely chopped parsley, capers and gherkins.’
    • ‘Serve as a starter or party opener with dishes of green and black olives, gherkins, a dip with potato chips and a glass of chilled dry Muscat.’
    • ‘For the tartare sauce, place the gherkins, egg white and capers in a bowl.’
    • ‘When served with sliced charcuterie, gherkins, olives and bread, this is one thing I would rather eat than almost anything else.’
    • ‘The bold Jamie adds them to his salsa verde, a kicking green sauce which he makes from parsley, mint, basil, anchovies, capers, garlic and chopped gherkins.’
    • ‘Over the past couple of weeks I've developed a penchant for quails eggs with mini gherkins, dipped in rock salt.’
  • 2The trailing plant that bears gherkins.

    Cucumis anguria, family Cucurbitaceae


Early 17th century: from Dutch augurkje, gurkje, diminutive of augurk, gurk, from Slavic, based on medieval Greek angourion ‘cucumber’.