verb (used with object)

to treat or flavor with ginger.
Informal. to impart piquancy or spirit to; enliven (usually followed by up): to ginger up a talk with a few jokes.


flavored or made with ginger.

Nearby words

  1. ginastera, alberto,
  2. ginep,
  3. ging,
  4. gingal,
  5. ginge,
  6. ginger ale,
  7. ginger beer,
  8. ginger family,
  9. ginger group,
  10. ginger jar

Origin of ginger

before 1000; Middle English ginger, gingivere < Old French gingivre < Latin gingiber, for zingiberi < Greek zingíberis; replacing Old English gingiber < Latin, as above Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for ginger up

ginger up


(tr, adverb) to enliven (an activity, group, etc)



any of several zingiberaceous plants of the genus Zingiber, esp Z. officinale of the East Indies, cultivated throughout the tropics for its spicy hot-tasting underground stemSee also galangal Compare wild ginger
the underground stem of this plant, which is used fresh or powdered as a flavouring or crystallized as a sweetmeat
any of certain related plants
  1. a reddish-brown or yellowish-brown colour
  2. (as adjective)ginger hair
informal liveliness; vigour
(ˈɡɪŋə) informal a person with ginger hair


(tr) to add the spice ginger to (a dish)
See also ginger up

Word Origin for ginger

C13: from Old French gingivre, from Medieval Latin gingiber, from Latin zinziberi, from Greek zingiberis, probably from Sanskrit śr̄ngaveram, from śr̄nga- horn + vera- body, referring to its shape

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ginger up



mid-14c., from Old English gingifer, from Medieval Latin gingiber, from Latin zingiberi, from Greek zingiberis, from Prakrit (Middle Indic) singabera, from Sanskrit srngaveram, from srngam "horn" + vera- "body," so called from the shape of its root. But this may be Sanskrit folk etymology, and the word may be from an ancient Dravidian name that also produced the Malayalam name for the spice, inchi-ver, from inchi "root." Cf. gin (v.). The word apparently was readopted in Middle English from Old French gingibre (Modern French gingembre). Meaning "spirit, spunk, temper" is from 1843, American English. Ginger-ale recorded by 1822; ginger-snap as a type of cookie is from 1855, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper