Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The roe of a large fish, especially sturgeon, that is salted, seasoned, and eaten as a delicacy or relish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. roe of the sturgeon or other large fish, considered a delicacy

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The roes of the sturgeon, prepared and salted; -- used as a relish, esp. in Russia.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A preparation for the table of the roe of certain large fish preserved by salting.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. salted roe of sturgeon or other large fish; usually served as an hors d'oeuvre

Etymologies

Alteration of caviarie (probably from obsolete Italian caviari, pl. of caviaro) or from French caviare, both from Turkish havyar, from Persian khāvyār; akin to khāyah, egg, from Middle Persian khāyak.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French caviar, from Turkish havyar, probably from Persian خاویار (xâvyâr), from خایه (xâye, "egg"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Though the term caviar is now widely used to describe any sort of lightly salted loose fish eggs, for many centuries it referred only to loose sturgeon eggs.

    On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  • The first recorded usage of the term "caviar," which derives from the Turkish word "khavyar," is attributed to Batu Kahn, Ghenghis Khan's grandson, in a written description of a meal he ate in 1240 at a monastery north of Moscow.

    The Great California Caviar Rush

  • The Beluga caviar is apparently flown in from Iran five days ahead of her treatments at a beauty salon in South Kensington.

    Archive 2007-07-01

  • I added some masago (capelin caviar) to the cream cheese.

    Fisherman’s Roll - Sushi Day - Sushiday.com

  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) said that it was unable to set export quotas for the Caspian Sea basin, where 90 per cent of the world's caviar is produced, because it did not have enough information about the region's fish population and the illegal trade in the eggs.

    You can have my truffles--when you pry them out of my cold, dead hand!

  • The worldwide trade in caviar was effectively suspended today when the UN said it could not approve export quotas for the expensive delicacy for the coming year.

    You can have my truffles--when you pry them out of my cold, dead hand!

  • However, I will single out newcomer Yael for having spoken the quote of the night, Is she having a bath in caviar?

    Current Movie Reviews, Independent Movies - Film Threat

  • CITES's approval also comes at a time when the US government, the world's leading importer of beluga caviar, is considering an outright ban.

    Boing Boing: September 14, 2003 - September 20, 2003 Archives

  • Large number will still coward at the sound of fish eggs but will eat "caviar" - which also happens to be prepared without heat.

    Archive 2007-03-01

  • The remaining options included classic French soup with lentils and garlic bread (280 rubles, $8.50), a thick concoction with a tangy, unusual taste, and grilled bell pepper and zucchini rolls filled with Ricotta cream and served with eggplant "caviar" - a classic Russian paste of mashed eggplant and other vegetables - for 340 rubles ($10).

    The St. Petersburg Times

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Comments

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  • "Caviar was regarded as a delicacy too refined to be appreciated by the vulgar taste; hence Shakspere's application of the word to a play which the vulgar could not relish."
    --from the Century Dictionary

    April 6, 2011

  • "Asked to collect caviar for a cocktail party, I was offered some at 3s 6d and some at 27s 6d a tin. I am told that the cheap variety is the spawn of a toad cultivated in Australia; the dearer one is, of course, sturgeon's eggs." - Raymond Bush, A Fruit Grower's Diary-74; The Countryman, (a British rural agriculture periodical), Autumn 1955, p.59.

    November 6, 2009

  • means 'egg-holder' in persian: khaviyar (خاویار)

    August 30, 2009

  • Originates from the Turkish khavyar, first appearing in English print in 1591.

    January 2, 2009