Why was clemency trending last week?


[spahys] /spaɪs/
any of a class of pungent or aromatic substances of vegetable origin, as pepper, cinnamon, or cloves, used as seasoning, preservatives, etc.
such substances collectively or as material:
Cookies without spice can be tasteless.
a spicy or aromatic odor or fragrance.
something that gives zest:
a spice of humor in his solemnity.
a piquant, interesting element or quality; zest; piquancy:
The anecdotes lent spice to her talk.
Archaic. a small quantity of something; trace; bit.
verb (used with object), spiced, spicing.
to prepare or season with a spice or spices.
to give zest, piquancy, or interest to by something added.
Origin of spice
1175-1225; (noun) Middle English, aphetic form of Old French espice (French épice) < Latin speciēs appearance, sort, kind (see species), in Late Latin (plural): goods, wares, spices, drugs; (v.) Middle English spicen, in part derivative of the noun, in part < Old French espicer, derivative of espice
Related forms
spiceable, adjective
spiceless, adjective
spicelike, adjective
overspice, verb, overspiced, overspicing.
respice, verb (used with object), respiced, respicing.
unspiced, adjective
well-spiced, adjective
5. tang, gusto, zip. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spice
  • Add a small amount to the soup for the zest of spice.
  • Many writers use this to spice things up to win there case since the average population gets board with pure science.
  • There has never been any great genius without a spice of madness.
  • Your purse is not hot enough to purchase your spice.
  • New weapons have also been added to give the online play a bit more spice.
  • If you can work with a collaborator that can spice up the writing process.
  • We had a spice-rubbed pork, roasted butternut bisque, and some green beans.
  • Variety is not only the spice of life but essential for survival of democracy.
  • Adding drinking to the mix seems to spice things up a bit, but is both unrealistic and unrelated to the author's real point.
  • Another spice that some people think of as a health food: turmeric.
British Dictionary definitions for spice


  1. any of a variety of aromatic vegetable substances, such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, used as flavourings
  2. these substances collectively
something that represents or introduces zest, charm, or gusto
(rare) a small amount
(Yorkshire, dialect) confectionery
verb (transitive)
to prepare or flavour (food) with spices
to introduce charm or zest into
Derived Forms
spicer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French espice, from Late Latin speciēs (pl) spices, from Latin speciēs (sing) kind; also associated with Late Latin spīcea (unattested) fragrant herb, from Latin spīceus having spikes of foliage; see spica
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 spice

early 13c., from Old French espice, from Late Latin species (plural) "spices, goods, wares," from Latin "kind, sort" (see species). Early druggists recognized four "types" of spices: saffron, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg. Figurative sense of "slight touch or trace of something" is recorded from 1530s. Spice-cake first attested 1520s.


"to season with spices," early 14c. (implied in spiced), from spice (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with spice
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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