Marinade or Marinate?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Marinade" and "Marinate"?

"Marinade" and "marinate" are easy to confuse because they sound similar and both relate to soaking food in a sauce. Knowing which to use requires a little bit of grammar knowledge because "marinade" is a noun (it means "sauce"), and "marinate" is a verb (it means "to soak in a marinade").
  • "Marinade" is a sauce used to soak food before cooking.
    • Soak the chicken in the marinade overnight.
    • (The word "marinade" is a noun that means "soaking sauce.")
  • "Marinate" (or "to marinate") means "to soak food in a marinade." It is a verb.
    • Marinate the chicken overnight.
    • ("Soak the chicken in a marinade overnight.")
Due to wide misuse of the word "marinade," this distinction is starting to blur. The verb "to marinade" now features in many dictionaries.
marinade or marinate?

More about "Marinade" and "Marinate"

The words "marinade" and "marinate" are confused so often that the distinction between them is blurring.

Marinade

The word "marinade" means "a sauce in which food is soaked before cooking."

Example sentences with "marinade":
  • A good marinade makes foods tastier, juicier, healthier, and more tender.
  • With a marinade, the combination of oil, acid, and flavor protects foods from the heat of the grill.
"Marinade" started out life as a noun, but it is used so often as a verb, many dictionaries now list it as one. For example:
  • Marinade the meat for at least 24 hours before cooking.
  • (We can't bring ourselves to give this a tick, but it is acceptable to use "marinade" as a verb nowadays.)
marinade as a verb
This graph from Google's Ngram viewer shows the recent rise of "marinade" as a verb.

Marinate

The word "marinate" is a verb. It means "to soak in a marinade."

Example sentences with "marinate":
  • We need to marinate the meat before tomorrow.
  • Marinating is a great way to intensify the flavour of food with just a few basic ingredients.
Don't forget the verb "to marinate" has other forms:
meat marinating in a marinade
Meat marinating in a marinade

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