Definition of vinegar in US English:



  • 1A sour-tasting liquid containing acetic acid, obtained by fermenting dilute alcoholic liquids, typically wine, cider, or beer, and used as a condiment or for pickling.

    • ‘On one corner of the square, you step into the Maille boutique, where the black and gold emblazoned company sells its world-famous mustards and vinegars.’
    • ‘He explained how the producer transfers a fraction of the vinegar from the younger barrels into the older barrels every year, which is why the age of a bottle of vinegar is only an average, being a mix of older and younger vinegars.’
    • ‘There are many wine-based vinegars on the market now.’
    • ‘He keeps the larger condiments such as cooking oil and vinegars in a wall cabinet opposite the cooking range.’
    • ‘You can make herb vinegars for salad dressings, marinades, or soups.’
    • ‘In southern Europe wine vinegar is the norm, for example, while in northern Europe malt, cider, and distilled vinegars predominate, and in the Far East rice vinegar is most usual.’
    • ‘Light salad dressings, herbs, spices, flavored vinegars, salsas and olive oil can add zest to your meals.’
    • ‘Flavored vinegars and oils add an extra kick to marinades, sauces, and dressings.’
    • ‘It also gives its name to tarragon vinegar, one of the best-known flavoured vinegars.’
    • ‘Gooseberries make delicious pies, jams and jellies as well as chutneys, sauces, fruit vinegars and wine, and can be preserved easily by canning or freezing.’
    • ‘And to clean brass curtain rings, soak them in a hot water and vinegar solution, then buff dry.’
    • ‘The authors of this particular fantasy neglect to mention that Russian Tarragon is not used in GOOD sauces, vinegars and salads.’
    • ‘Described as a liquid deli, it stocks whisky, olive oil, vinegars and liqueurs, and all in beautiful refillable bottles.’
    • ‘Since bold vinegars make wines taste harsh, use softer vinegars in dressings.’
    • ‘Use tart vinegars, spicy chiles, savory miso paste, or aromatic herbs to make food more exciting.’
    • ‘When fully incorporated, add the capers, parsley, the vinegars and the water.’
    • ‘Fungi are important for baking breads and fermenting wines, beers and vinegars.’
    • ‘Suggestions for a gourmet garden include many plants common in mediaeval times such as sweet Cicily, scented geraniums, lovage and lavender, apparently a marvellous seasoning for vinegars and home-made ice cream.’
    • ‘Combine the ketchup, vinegars, apple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard, garlic powder, white pepper, cayenne pepper, and bacon bits in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.’
    • ‘Use fresh basil leaves for maximum flavor in tomato sauces, salads, vinegars, and eggs, and on lamb, fish, and poultry.’
    • ‘Similarly, vinegars can range from wine and cider to wonderfully fruity ones such as blackcurrant, strawberry and (my favourite) raspberry.’
    marinade, brine
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Sourness or peevishness of behavior, character, or speech.
      ‘her aggrieved tone held a touch of vinegar’
      • ‘Lady Catherine de Bourgh would turn a saint's milk of human kindness to vinegar.’
      • ‘I’ll confess: the sharp vinegar of bad temper surged up inside me.’
      • ‘Then next day the boy, who was very strongly recommended by the carpet seller's vinegar tongued wife; arrived with his friend’


Middle English: from Old French vyn egre, based on Latin vinum ‘wine’ + acer ‘sour’.