Marinade or Marinate?

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
What is the difference between marinade and marinate?

A marinade is sauce in which food is soaked before cooking.

To marinate is the corresponding verb. It means to soak food in a marinade.

(This distinction is blurring. The verb to marinade now features in many dictionaries.)

Marinade and Marinate

The words marinade and marinate are confused so often, the distinction between them is starting to blur.


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
  • With a marinade, the combination of oil, acid and flavour 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 verb nowadays.)


The word marinate is a verb which means to soak in 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:
  • He marinates...
  • It was marinating...
  • It was marinated...

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

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are verbs? What are nouns? Glossary of easily confused words