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

  • n. A plant (Zingiber officinale) of tropical southeast Asia having yellowish-green flowers and a pungent aromatic rhizome.
  • n. The rhizome of this plant, often dried and powdered and used as a spice. Also called gingerroot.
  • n. Any of several related plants having variously colored, often fragrant flowers.
  • n. Wild ginger.
  • n. A strong brown.
  • n. Informal Spirit and liveliness; vigor.
  • transitive v. To spice with ginger.
  • transitive v. Informal To make lively: A steel drum band gingered up the party.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any plant of a genus (Zingiber, especially Zingiber officinale) of tropical Asiatic and Polynesian herbs of a family (Zingiberaceae, the ginger family) with pungent aromatic rhizomes used as a condiment and as a stimulant and acarminative.
  • n. The rhizome of this plant used as a spice either as it is or in dried powdered form.
  • n. A reddish-brown colour/color.
  • n. A person with reddish-brown hair; a redhead.
  • n. vitality, vigour, liveliness (of character)
  • adj. Of a reddish-brown colour.
  • adj. flavoured with ginger.
  • v. To add ginger to.
  • v. To enliven, to spice (up).
  • n. a homosexual.
  • adj. homosexual.
  • v. To move gingerly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A plant of the genus Zingiber, of the East and West Indies. The species most known is Zingiber officinale.
  • n. The hot and spicy rootstock of Zingiber officinale, which is much used in cookery and in medicine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The rhizome, and also the light-yellow substance of the rhizome, of Zingiber officinale a reed-like perennial plant with annual leafy stems 3 or 4 feet high, and flowers in conical spikes borne on distinct leafless stems.
  • Made of or flavored with ginger.
  • Brittle; tender; delicate.
  • To put some ‘ginger’ into (a person); shake up; revive.
  • n. In the West Indies, any one of several species belonging to the genera Costus and Alpinia (Renealmia of many authors).

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

  • n. liveliness and energy
  • adj. (used especially of hair or fur) having a bright orange-brown color
  • v. add ginger to in order to add flavor
  • n. dried ground gingerroot
  • n. perennial plants having thick branching aromatic rhizomes and leafy reedlike stems
  • n. pungent rhizome of the common ginger plant; used fresh as a seasoning especially in Asian cookery


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

Middle English gingivere, from Old English gingifer and from Old French gingivre, both from Medieval Latin gingiber, from Latin zingiberi, from Greek zingiberis, of Middle Indic origin (akin to Pali singiveram), from Dravidian : akin to Tamil iñci, ginger (of southeast Asian origin) + Tamil vēr, root.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English gingere, alteration of gingivere, from late Old English gingifer, gingiber (influenced by Old French gingibre), from Medieval Latin gingiber, zingeber, from Latin zingiberi, from Late Greek ζιγγίβερις (zingíberis), from Middle Indic (cf. Pali siṅgivēra, Sanskrit शृङ्गवेर (śṛṅgavera)) (influenced by शृङ्गं (śṛṅgaṃ) ‘horn’), from Old Tamil iṅci vēr, literally, ‘ginger root’ (mod. Tamil இஞ்சி (iṅci) வேர் (ver)).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Cockney rhyming slang: ginger beer = queer



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • As for the spice, and how it was packed for long-distance transport, a note can be found on fondaci. Another on how to determine freshness is on gum arabic. On its famed use in Nuremberg spiced Christmas cakes, see gingerbread. Another interesting note can be found on garbling. Value relative to other spices, sueldos carlines.

    November 28, 2017

  • IrE for red hair or (AmE) red-head (i.e. red-headed person)

    April 27, 2011

  • It's not usually pejorative, but it can be used pejoratively, just as blonde can (example.)

    January 29, 2010

  • As a noun it whiffs rather of mockery to my ear. As an adjective describing what in America is called a redhead, no, it's perfectly normal.

    January 29, 2010

  • Not pejorative in Australia.

    January 29, 2010

  • So, this word can refer to people, not just to food? Huh. This comes as a surprise to my American ears. It sounds funny to talk about a "ginger" person.

    Also, can someone please explain to me whether "ginger", in this sense, is pejorative?

    January 28, 2010

  • gin·ger /ˈdʒɪndʒər/ jin-jer –noun

    A person of pale yet muddled (freckled) complexion, therewith born with red, but truthfully bright orange or ginger, colored hair. Although often subclassified as a redhead, this genus is technically a distant relative to the redhaired subspecies of human.

    For disambiguation please see Carrot Top, Ron Weasley, and Chucky Finster.

    October 22, 2008