1. A plant (Zingiber officinale) of tropical Southeast Asia having yellowish-green flowers and a pungent aromatic rhizome.
2. The rhizome of this plant, used as a spice either fresh or in dried and powdered form. Also called gingerroot.
a. Any of several related plants having variously colored, often fragrant flowers.
b. Wild ginger.
4. A strong brown.
5. Informal Spirit and liveliness; vigor.
6. Slang A person who has red hair.
tr.v. gin·gered, gin·ger·ing, gin·gers
1. To spice with ginger.
2. Informal To make lively: A steel drum band gingered up the party.
[Middle English gingivere, from Old English gingifer and from Old French gingivre, both from Medieval Latin gingiber, from Latin zingiberi, from Greek zingiberis, of Middle Indic origin (akin to Pali singiveram), from Dravidian : akin to Tamil iñci, ginger (of southeast Asian origin) + Tamil vēr, root.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.