Word of the Day


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to put meat, fish, or vegetables in a marinade

Origin and usage

The word marinate is directly derived from the French word ‘mariner’ meaning ‘to pickle in brine’. That French word comes from the Latin ‘marinus’ meaning ‘of the sea’. Marinate was first recorded in English sometime in the 1640s.


Marinate refers to a process of preparing food before it is cooked by putting it in a mixture of flavourings called a marinade. Marinades are most commonly used to marinate fish, meat or vegetables.

When food is marinated, its flavour is intensified and the meat or fish becomes more tender.

There are many ways to marinate different foods, but a few basic kitchen tools can come in handy when preparing to marinate. These include:
• A small hand juicer
• Tongs
• Shallow glass, ceramic or plastic dishes, storage containers or resealable plastic bags
• A pastry brush

It is not necessary to follow a strict recipe when marinating food, but a marinade needs an oil, an acid and seasonings. Olive oil, sesame oil and peanut oil are all good choices when preparing to marinate. Acids good for marinating include vinegar, citrus juices, buttermilk and even yoghurt. Seasonings used to marinate can vary greatly, but some common ones are fresh herbs, spices, citrus peel, honey, salt and pepper.

The longer a food is allowed to marinate, the more flavour it will absorb. Food should always be marinated in the refrigerator for safety.


“I love grilling. Grilling is an incredible way to keep healthy. And you can marinate both with a dry rub and also wet marinades. You can marinate juniper berry or a little bit of olive oil and some citrus and fresh herbs – all that sort of stuff.”
(Curtis Stone)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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