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

  • transitive v. To make soft by soaking or steeping in a liquid.
  • transitive v. To separate into constituents by soaking.
  • transitive v. To cause to become lean, usually by starvation; emaciate.
  • intransitive v. To become soft or separated into constituents by soaking: "His winemaker allowed the juice and skins of the white grapes to macerate together overnight before pressing” ( Gerald Asher).
  • n. A substance prepared or produced by macerating.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To soften (something) or separate (something) into pieces by soaking (it) in a heated or unheated liquid.
  • v. To make lean; to cause to waste away.
  • v. To subdue the appetite by poor or scanty diet; to mortify.
  • n. A macerated substance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make lean; to cause to waste away.
  • transitive v. To subdue the appetites of by poor and scanty diet; to mortify.
  • transitive v. To soften by steeping in a liquid, with or without heat; to wear away or separate the parts of by steeping.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To steep or soak almost to solution; soften and separate the parts of by steeping in a fluid, usually without heat, or by the digestive process: as, to maceratc a plant for the extraction of its medicinal properties; food is macerated in the stomach.
  • To make lean; cause to grow lean or to waste away.
  • To harass or mortify; worry; annoy.

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

  • v. become soft or separate and disintegrate as a result of excessive soaking
  • v. separate into constituents by soaking
  • v. cause to grow thin or weak
  • v. soften, usually by steeping in liquid, and cause to disintegrate as a result


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

Latin mācerāre, mācerāt-; see mag- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin mācerātus, perfect passive participle of mācerō, from Proto-Indo-European *mag-, *mak- (“to knead”) .


  • For another take on maceration, Jeff Vandermeer, who is clearly some sort of over-achiever he probably was the kid with his hand up in class all the time has done his own bizarre take on the word macerate, along with every other word that was used by the anthology’s contributors.

    Logorrhea: Macerate

  • If it is sour fruit, you might want to add sugar to macerate a bit first.

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  • Stir the brown sugar into the sliced strawberries and let macerate at room temperature for half an hour or until juicy.

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  • Stir to combine and leave to macerate for 24 hours or longer, if your schedule dictates, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula to mix in any sugar that has settled to the bottom of the bowl.

    Beyond Blini

  • She dressed it by mashing lemon juice, salt, and garlic together in the same worn wooden mortar, then letting them sit so the garlic could macerate into the lemon juice.

    Day of Honey

  • Squeeze the lemon juice over the garlic, stir in the pomegranate molasses, and let it macerate while you assemble the salad.

    Day of Honey

  • He didn't over-macerate for deep color extraction or bludgeon this wine with oak.

    The New York Cork Report:

  • Combine shallots and vinegar in a small bowl and let macerate while pork rests.

    Dressed for Fall

  • Add a big pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper and leave to macerate while preparing the salad.

    Food-World Royalty

  • The recipe in her book Jams and Chutneys is credited to her friend Sue, and requires the cook to macerate the fruit, sugar and lemon juice for 24 hours, before bringing the mixture to the boil and simmering it gently for 5 minutes.

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  • Also to waste away by fasting. With all due respect, Ghandi comes to mind...

    July 17, 2009