[ soo-shee ]
/ ˈsu ʃi /
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noun Japanese Cooking.
cold boiled rice moistened with rice vinegar, usually shaped into bite-size pieces and topped with raw seafood (nigiri), formed around strips of vegetable or raw fish into a cylindrical seaweed-wrapped roll that is sliced into bite-size pieces (maki), or wrapped together with strips of vegetable or raw fish in a sheet of dried seaweed and rolled into a cone shape (temaki).


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Compare sashimi.

Origin of sushi

First recorded in 1895–1900; from Japanese: “sour, sour rice”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What’s the difference between sushi and sashimi?

Sushi and sashimi are both dishes you’ll find on the menu of a Japanese restaurant, and you might even order both at once, but they’re not the same thing.

Sushi consists of bite-sized pieces of cold, boiled rice, stuffed or topped with various ingredients. Sashimi is raw fish cut into thin slices.

The variety of sushi perhaps best-known outside of Japan is called maki (or maki-zushi). It’s made by forming a roll of rice around various fillings, especially vegetables, raw seafood, or a combination, and then wrapping the roll in seaweed and slicing it into small, bite-sized rounds. Another variety, nigiri (or nigiri-zushi), consists of bite-sized pieces of rice topped with raw seafood or something else.

In Japanese, the word sushi means “sour rice” (the rice is traditionally moistened with rice vinegar). The word sashimi comes from the Japanese sashi, meaning “pierce” or “stabbing,” and mi, “flesh” or “body.”

Many people associate sushi with a raw fish or seafood element, and it often includes these, but not always. It can be filled or topped with many other things—its essential ingredient is rice.

Sashimi, on the other hand, is simply thinly sliced raw fish (often accompanied with soy sauce or wasabi). (You may see some non-fish dishes prepared sashimi-style, which typically means they’re sliced thin like sashimi is.)

Here’s an example of sushi and sashimi used correctly in a sentence.

Example: I love ordering sushi with unusual combinations of ingredients, but sometimes I prefer the simplicity of sashimi.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between sushi and sashimi.

Quiz yourself on sushi vs. sashimi!

Should sushi or sashimi be used in the following sentence?

The paper-thin slices of _____ were beautifully arranged on the platter.

How to use sushi in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sushi

/ (ˈsuːʃɪ) /

a Japanese dish consisting of small cakes of cold rice with a topping esp of raw fish

Word Origin for sushi

from Japanese
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