a. Any of various pungent, aromatic plant substances, such as cinnamon or nutmeg, used to flavor foods or beverages.
b. These substances considered as a group.
2. Something that adds zest or interest: The controversy added spice to the political campaign.
3. A pungent aroma.
tr.v. spiced, spic·ing, spic·es
1. To season with spices.
2. To add zest or interest to: uses witty rhymes to spice up the song.
[Middle English, from Old French espice, from Late Latin speciēs, wares, spices, from Latin, kind; see SPECIES.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.