Word of the Day



something such as salt, pepper, or a sauce that you put on food at the table to make it taste better

Origin and usage

The word condiment comes from the Latin word ‘condire’ meaning ‘to preserve or to season’. It was first used to English to describe ‘pickling fluid, seasoning’ in the middle of the 15th century.


Condiment is a word that describes a sauce or seasoning added to food after it has been prepared. These special spices and sauces are usually added at the table, just before eating, and the kind and amount used depends on the specific flavours or tastes a person likes.

Common condiments include salt, pepper, butter, ketchup, vinegar and dried herbs.

Different cultures have their own condiments that help to enhance or improve the flavour of local dishes. What may be a very common table seasoning in one place might be completely unfamiliar to diners in other countries.

Some condiments are best suited to vegetable dishes, others to fried foods, and still others are best on fruits, pasta sauces, soups or meat dishes.

Popular condiments from around the world include:
• Mayonnaise (United States)
• Salsa (Latin America)
• Brown sauce (UK)
• Banana sauce (Philippines)
• Vegemite (Australia)
• Harissa (North Africa)
• Wasabi (Japan)
• Chutney (India)
• Sriracha (Thailand)
• Hoisin sauce (China)

Most condiments can be purchased in the supermarket, but many condiments can be made at home from a few simple ingredients.


“Even just a few spices or ethnic condiments that you can keep in your pantry can turn your mundane dishes into a culinary masterpiece.”

(Marcus Samuelsson)

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

(Truman Capote)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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