Marinade or Marinate?

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Marinade or Marinate?

What is the difference between "marinade" and "marinate"?
  • "A 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.")
  • "To marinate" is the corresponding verb. It means "to soak food in a marinade."
    • Marinate the chicken overnight.
Note: This distinction is blurring. The verb "to marinade" now features in many dictionaries. (More below)

marinade or marinate?

More about "Marinade" and "Marinate"

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


The word "marinade" means "a sauce in which food is soaked before cooking." For example:
  • 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.


The word "marinate" is a verb. It means "to soak in a marinade." For example:
  • We need to marinate the meat before tomorrow.
  • Marinating is a great way to intensify the flavour of food with just a few basic
Don't forget the verb "to marinate" has other forms:
meat marinating in a marinade
Meat marinating in a marinade
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

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