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[mahr-jer-in, -juh-reen, mahrj-rin] /ˈmɑr dʒər ɪn, -dʒəˌrin, ˈmɑrdʒ rɪn/
a butterlike product made of refined vegetable oils, sometimes blended with animal fats, and emulsified, usually with water or milk.
Also called oleomargarine.
Origin of margarine
1870-75; margar(ic) + -ine2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for margarine
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It sounds like margarine, she cried, in distasteful reference to the balm.

    Twos and Threes G. B. Stern
  • margarine and chlesterine, carbonates, sulphates, and ptomaines!

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • It is ugly enough to cause tears, it is pretentious, it is in bad taste, and the singers churn up a margarine of rancid tones.

    En Route J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
  • His face was also like margarine, but of adulterated margarine, certainly.

  • To give but one example: the shipments of margarine from Holland to Germany during 1915 showed thirteen times greater, etc.

  • Cocoanut butter is a cheap and excellent substitute for margarine or butter.

    Papers on Health John Kirk
  • It consisted of a loaf, some margarine, and a jug of coffee.

    The Secret Adversary Agatha Christie
  • Hastily she made the tea and went up with it and the bread and margarine.

    Tatterdemalion John Galsworthy
British Dictionary definitions for margarine


/ˌmɑːdʒəˈriːn; ˌmɑːɡə-/
a substitute for butter, prepared from vegetable and animal fats by emulsifying them with water and adding small amounts of milk, salt, vitamins, colouring matter, etc
Word Origin
C19: from margaric
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
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Word Origin and History for margarine

butter substitute, 1873, from French margarine (see margarine). Invented 1869 by French scientist Hippolyte Mège-Mouries and made in part from edible fats and oils.

The "enterprising merchant" of Paris, who sells Margarine as a substitute for Butter, and does not sell his customers by selling it as Butter, and at Butter's value, has very likely found honesty to be the best policy. That policy might perhaps be adopted with advantage by an enterprising British Cheesemonger. ["Punch," Feb. 21, 1874]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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