Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Ginger


English Wikipedia has an article on:
Ginger rhizomes.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈdʒɪndʒə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈdʒɪndʒɚ/
  • Rhymes: -ɪndʒə(ɹ)
  • In the UK, the pronunciation /ˈɡɪŋə/ may be jokingly used in disparaging reference to (a person with) the hair colour.

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English gingere, alteration of Middle English gingivere, from Old English gingifer, gingiber (influenced by Old French gingembre), from Medieval Latin gingiber, zingeber, from Latin zingiberi, from Late Ancient Greek ζιγγίβερις (zingíberis), from Sauraseni Prakrit सिङ्गबेर (siṅgabera), from Sanskrit शृङ्गवेर (śṛṅgavera)) (influenced by शृङ्गं (śṛṅgaṃ, horn)), from Old Tamil [script needed] (iṅci, ginger) + [script needed] (vēr, root) (modern Tamil இஞ்சி (iñci, ginger) + வேர் (vēr, root)).


ginger (countable and uncountable, plural gingers)

  1. The pungent aromatic rhizome of a tropical Asian herb, Zingiber officinale, used as a spice and as a stimulant and acarminative.
  2. The plant that produces this rhizome.
  3. Other species belonging to the same family, Zingiberaceae, especially those of the genus Zingiber
  4. A reddish-brown color.
    ginger colour:  
  5. (colloquial, often derogatory, countable) A person with reddish-brown hair; a redhead.
  6. (colloquial, uncountable) Vitality, vigour, liveliness (of character).
    • 1918, Official Report of Debates, House of Commons, Canada Parliament House of Commons:
      The position in the country and in this House might be well expressed by a reference to the recent activities of the ginger party in Great Britain — the party that demanded that more ginger be put into the conduct of the war.
    • 1990, Nancy Elizabeth Gallagher, Egypt's Other Wars: Epidemics and the Politics of Public Health[1]:
      He had, however, "put some more ginger in two nights ago. Things move with exasperating slowness in this country.”
    • 2007, John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace[2], page 77:
      The party managers demanded more “ginger.”
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


ginger (comparative more ginger, superlative most ginger)

  1. (of hair) Of a reddish-brown colour.
Derived terms[edit]


ginger (third-person singular simple present gingers, present participle gingering, simple past and past participle gingered)

  1. To add ginger to.
    • 2009, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar[3]:
      They gingered the biscotti, black and whited the cookies and oated the meals.
    • 2013, Suzanne Woods Fisher, The Letters (The Inn at Eagle Hill Book #1): A Novel:
      The first breather of the day came when Naomi brought some gingered lemonade out to the barn.
  2. To enliven, to spice (up).
    • 1982, Lawrence Durrell, Constance, Faber & Faber, published 2004, page 886:
      The accident was an excuse merely to replace an old-fashioned regular with old-fashioned notions by an active, fire-eating young general who would ginger things up.
    • 2004, Eric Larrabee, Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War, page 464:
      Before an action began, he liked to make bold predictions as to its outcome; this was part of his way of gingering people up, of creating an aura of victory to come.
    • 2007, J. Stephen Lang, The Bible on the Big Screen: A Guide from Silent Films to Today's Movies:
      Regarding this human angle, DeMille wrote, "I am sometimes accused of gingering up the Bible with large and lavish infusions of sex and violence. I can only wonder if my accusers have ever read certain parts of the Bible."
  3. To apply ginger to the anus of a horse to encourage it to carry its tail high and move in a lively fashion.
    • 1850, William Percivall, editor, The Veterinarian[4], page 594:
      If he had been gingered, he would have gone well. After I bought him, I gingered him.
    • 1884, The British Veterinary Journal[5], volume 18, page 426:
      Gingering is decided cruelty.
    • 1893, Baily's Magazine of Sports & Pastimes[6], volume 60, page 161:
      There he is, moving in his best form, with the full knowledge that that long whip in his rear will once more be round his flanks, as it has often been before, if he fails to wake up when he comes out for a show—well gingered, too, we should say, and all life and action.
  4. (Nigeria, transitive) To inspire (someone); to give a little boost to.
    • 2002, K. K. Prah, Rehabilitating African Languages:
      These steps may not be immediately popular, but the society may have to bear with them until they succeed in gingering renewed interest and pride in the language so chosen.
    • 2006, Africa e Mediterraneo: cultura, politica, economia, società:
      In conclusion, intensive campaigns should be done in relation to gingering the nomads' interest in education, improve their interaction with neighbours and encourage them to start considering a more sedentary pastoral life.
    • 2015, “19-year-old student at a music school in Nigeria”, in BBC Newshour:
      I attended their concert first, so that was what gingered me to continue this school.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

(1510) Perhaps from Old French gensor, comparative of gent (nice, kind, pretty), from Latin gentius (well-born).


ginger (comparative more ginger, superlative most ginger)

  1. sensitive, delicate
    • 2006, John McGinley, About the King's Choice to Build His Palace Right on Top of the[7]:
      They, the Rabbis, for better or for worse, were very ginger with this question.
    • 2007, Flypast, number 306-311:
      After a very ginger landing, everyone aboard was able to see up close how lucky they had been to reach base.
    • 2009, Franklin Newman, The Prophetess of Bromfryel: The Knights of Callistor[8]:
      Moving very slowly, taking extremely ginger steps, the woman felt beads of sweat dripping down from her body.


ginger (third-person singular simple present gingers, present participle gingering, simple past and past participle gingered)

  1. To move gingerly, very careful and cautious.
    • 1972 September 1, Paul Hemphill, “I Gotta Let the Kid Go”, in Life[9], volume 73, number 9, ISSN 0024-3019, page 42:
      Spring training began on Christmas Day, when my cousin and I gingered onto the lot behind the fire station to try out our new spikes.
    • 1979, Bill Marshall, Bukom[10], Longman, →ISBN, page 83:
      She gingered her way into the river and timidly splashed into its waters.
    • 1992, Donald Anderson, “My Name Is Stephen Mann”, in Aethlon[11], University of Iowa Press, published 2001, →ISBN, page 11:
      I gingered my hands into my grandfather’s [boxing] gloves.
    • 2009, Montana Kid Hammer, The Old West Adventures of Ornery and Slim: The Partnership[12], AuthorHouse, →ISBN, page 47:
      Takin’ good care not to topple into the depths o’ this muddy ol’ ooze, I gingered my way across the muddy path along the river’s edge until I arrived at that big hat.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Cockney rhyming slang: ginger beer, queer.


ginger (plural gingers)

  1. (Britain, Cockney rhyming slang) A homosexual.


ginger (not comparable)

  1. (Britain, Cockney rhyming slang) Homosexual.