from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To make soft by soaking or steeping in a liquid.
  • intransitive verb To separate into constituents by soaking.
  • intransitive verb To cause to become lean, usually by starvation; emaciate.
  • intransitive verb To become soft or separated into constituents by soaking.
  • noun A substance prepared or produced by macerating.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • verb become soft or separate and disintegrate as a result of excessive soaking
  • verb separate into constituents by soaking
  • verb cause to grow thin or weak
  • verb 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.

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  • 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.

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

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

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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.

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

    July 17, 2009