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[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.
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 spices
  • And since that time they have became a distinct spices, from their ancestors, who still live in bat caves.
  • Mix and sift flour with soda and spices, and add to first mixture, then add fruit.
  • And the east and the south yield their spices and gold.
  • There are many spices and vast mines of gold and other metals in this island.
  • No cut in pennies and little dressing and choose wide soles and little spats really little spices.
  • Herbs and spices used to flavor food are also green alternatives to synthetic pesticides, scientists say.
  • Do it naturally with open windows or simmering spices.
  • Pick up some incense and spices in this ancient city.
  • And the taste is indeed divine, with a blend of spices and herbs and its exterior broiled to crispy perfection.
  • She notes that many cicada recipes call for a lot of spices and sauce, which usually wind up being the dominant flavors.
British Dictionary definitions for spices


  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 spices



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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spices in the Bible

aromatic substances, of which several are named in Ex. 30. They were used in the sacred anointing oil (Ex. 25:6; 35:8; 1 Chr. 9:29), and in embalming the dead (2 Chr. 16:14; Luke 23:56; 24:1; John 19:39, 40). Spices were stored by Hezekiah in his treasure-house (2 Kings 20:13; Isa. 39:2).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with spices
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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