A dish is something on which you serve, cook, or eat food. You need an extra large dish to make a casserole big enough to feed your entire extended family.

You can use the noun dish to talk about the enamel, ceramic, metal, or plastic vessel your food is in, and you can also use it for the food itself. You might say, "This macaroni and cheese was my great aunt Mathilda's favorite dish." When you serve it, you can say that you "dish it out" — although figuratively, this also means "administer punishment."

Definitions of dish
  1. noun
    a piece of dishware normally used as a container for holding or serving food
    “we gave them a set of dishes for a wedding present”
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    a dish that is round and open at the top for serving foods
    butter dish
    a small dish (often with a cover) for holding butter at the table
    large deep dish in which food can be cooked and served
    a dish in the form of a scallop shell
    boat, gravy boat, gravy holder, sauceboat
    a dish (often boat-shaped) for serving gravy or sauce
    Petri dish
    a shallow dish used to culture bacteria
    ramekin, ramequin
    a small fireproof dish used for baking and serving individual portions
    serving dish
    a dish used for serving food
    sugar bowl
    a dish in which sugar is served
    watch glass
    laboratory glassware; a shallow glass dish used as an evaporating surface or to cover a beaker
    argyle, argyll
    a covered gravy holder of silver or other metal containing a detachable central vessel for hot water to keep the gravy warm
    cereal bowl
    a bowl for holding breakfast cereal
    a small casserole in which individual portions can be cooked and served
    finger bowl
    small bowl for rinsing the fingers at table
    mixing bowl
    bowl used with an electric mixer
    a shallow metal bowl (usually with a handle)
    punch bowl
    a large bowl for serving beverages; usually with a ladle
    salad bowl
    a large bowl for mixing and serving a salad
    slop basin, slop bowl
    a bowl into which the dregs of teacups and coffee cups are emptied at the table
    soup bowl
    a bowl for serving soup
    large deep serving dish with a cover; for serving soups and stews
    type of:
    any object that can be used to hold things (especially a large metal boxlike object of standardized dimensions that can be loaded from one form of transport to another)
    crockery, dishware
    tableware (eating and serving dishes) collectively
  2. noun
    a particular item of prepared food
    “she prepared a special dish for dinner”
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    piece de resistance
    the most important dish of a meal
    a dish of marinated vegetables and meat or fish; served with rice
    entremets, side dish, side order
    a dish that is served with, but is subordinate to, a main course
    a dish or meal given prominence in e.g. a restaurant
    food cooked and served in a casserole
    liquid food especially of meat or fish or vegetable stock often containing pieces of solid food
    food prepared by stewing especially meat or fish with vegetables
    saffron-flavored dish made of rice with shellfish and chicken
    a choice or delicious dish
    a light creamy dish made from fish or meat and set with gelatin
    any of various soft thick unsweetened baked dishes
    sweetened mixture of milk and eggs baked or boiled or frozen
    a dish made by folding a piece of pastry over a filling
    individual serving of minced e.g. meat or fish in a rich creamy sauce baked in a small pastry mold or timbale shell
    fish finger, fish stick
    a long fillet of fish breaded and fried
    buffalo wing
    crisp spicy chicken wings
    barbecued wing
    chicken wings cooked in barbecue sauce
    barbecue, barbeque
    meat that has been barbecued or grilled in a highly seasoned sauce
    biriani, biryani
    an Indian dish made with highly seasoned rice and meat or fish or vegetables
    escalope de veau Orloff
    lightly sauteed veal cutlets spread with a Soubise sauce and liver paste then sprinkled with grated Parmesan and baked briefly
    a dish of sauteed food
    cake, patty
    small flat mass of chopped food
    veal parmesan, veal parmigiana
    sauteed veal cutlet in a breadcrumb-and-cheese coating served with tomato sauce
    veal cordon bleu
    thin slices of veal stuffed with cheese and ham and then sauteed
    sandwich plate
    a serving consisting of a sandwich or sandwiches with garnishes
    snack food
    food for light meals or for eating between meals
    food mixtures either arranged on a plate or tossed and served with a moist dressing; usually consisting of or including greens
    (East Indian cookery) a pungent dish of vegetables or meats flavored with curry powder and usually eaten with rice
    apple sauce, applesauce
    puree of stewed apples usually sweetened and spiced
    boiled egg, coddled egg
    egg cooked briefly in the shell in gently boiling water
    dropped egg, poached egg
    egg cooked in gently boiling water
    scrambled eggs
    eggs beaten and cooked to a soft firm consistency while stirring
    deviled egg, stuffed egg
    halved hard-cooked egg with the yolk mashed with mayonnaise and seasonings and returned to the white
    baked egg, egg en cocotte, shirred egg
    egg cooked individually in cream or butter in a small ramekin
    omelet, omelette
    beaten eggs or an egg mixture cooked until just set; may be folded around e.g. ham or cheese or jelly
    light fluffy dish of egg yolks and stiffly beaten egg whites mixed with e.g. cheese or fish or fruit
    fried egg
    eggs cooked by sauteing in oil or butter; sometimes turned and cooked on both sides
    coq au vin
    chicken and onions and mushrooms braised in red wine and seasonings
    chicken provencale
    chicken cooked in a sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil
    chicken and rice
    rice and chicken cooked together with or without other ingredients and variously seasoned
    moo goo gai pan
    a Cantonese dish of chicken and sauteed vegetables
    bacon and eggs
    eggs (fried or scrambled) served with bacon
    barbecued spareribs, spareribs
    baked or roasted with a spicy sauce
    beef Bourguignonne, boeuf Bourguignonne
    beef and mushrooms and onions stewed in red wine and seasonings
    beef Wellington, filet de boeuf en croute
    rare-roasted beef tenderloin coated with mushroom paste in puff pastry
    a Russian dish made with patties of ground meat (mixed with onions and bread and milk) and served with a sauce of sour cream
    New England boiled dinner, boiled dinner
    corned beef simmered with onions and cabbage and usually other vegetables
    Boston baked beans
    dried navy beans baked slowly with molasses and salt pork
    bubble and squeak
    leftover cabbage fried with cooked potatoes and sometimes meat
    a dish that contains pasta as its main ingredient
    Belgian beef stew, carbonnade flamande
    beef stewed in beer seasoned with garlic and served with boiled potatoes
    chicken Marengo
    braised chicken with onions and mushrooms in a wine and tomato sauce
    chicken cordon bleu
    thin slices of chicken stuffed with cheese and ham and then sauteed
    Maryland chicken
    chicken fried than oven-baked and served with milk gravy
    chicken paprika, chicken paprikash
    chicken simmered in broth with onions and paprika then mixed with sour cream
    a pasta dish with cream sauce and mushrooms
    chicken Kiev
    pounded chicken cutlets rolled around butter (that has been seasoned with herbs) and then covered with crumbs and fried
    chili, chili con carne
    ground beef and chili peppers or chili powder often with tomatoes and kidney beans
    chop suey
    meat or fish stir-fried with vegetables (e.g., celery, onions, peppers or bean sprouts) seasoned with ginger and garlic and soy sauce; served with rice; created in the United States and frequently served in Chinese restaurants there
    chow mein
    chop suey served with fried noodles
    seafood served in a scallop shell
    coquilles Saint-Jacques
    scallops in white wine sauce served in scallop shells
    minced cooked meats or vegetables formed into patties, breaded, and deep-fried
    cottage pie
    a dish of minced meat topped with mashed potatoes
    minced cooked meat or fish coated in egg and breadcrumbs and fried in deep fat
    dolmas, stuffed grape leaves
    well-seasoned rice (with nuts or currants or minced lamb) simmered or braised in stock
    egg roll, spring roll
    minced vegetables and meat wrapped in a pancake and fried
    eggs Benedict
    toasted English muffin topped with ham and a poached egg (or an oyster) and hollandaise sauce
    tortilla with meat filling baked in tomato sauce seasoned with chili
    falafel, felafel
    small croquette of mashed chick peas or fava beans seasoned with sesame seeds
    fish and chips
    fried fish and french-fried potatoes
    fondu, fondue
    hot cheese or chocolate melted to the consistency of a sauce into which bread or fruits are dipped
    fondu, fondue
    cubes of meat or seafood cooked in hot oil and then dipped in any of various sauces
    French toast
    bread slice dipped in egg and milk and fried; topped with sugar or fruit or syrup
    Chinese fried rice, fried rice
    boiled rice mixed with scallions and minced pork or shrimp and quickly scrambled with eggs
    Italian omelet with diced vegetables and meats; cooked until bottom is set then inverted into another pan to cook the top
    frog legs
    hind legs of frogs used as food; resemble chicken and cooked as chicken
    boned poultry stuffed then cooked and covered with aspic; served cold
    fish ball, gefilte fish
    well-seasoned balls of ground fish and eggs and crushed crumbs simmered in fish stock
    made of sheep's or calf's viscera minced with oatmeal and suet and onions and boiled in the animal's stomach
    ham and eggs
    eggs (scrambled or fried) served with ham
    chopped meat mixed with potatoes and browned
    spicy Creole dish of rice and ham, sausage, chicken, or shellfish with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and celery
    kabob, kebab, shish kebab
    cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables
    a dish of rice and hard-boiled eggs and cooked flaked fish
    seafood Newburg
    seafood in Newburg sauce served on toast or rice
    lobster thermidor
    diced lobster mixed with Mornay sauce placed back in the shell and sprinkled with grated cheese and browned
    lutefisk, lutfisk
    dried cod soaked in a lye solution before boiling to give it a gelatinous consistency
    mixed diced fruits or vegetables; hot or cold
    ground meat formed into a ball and fried or simmered in broth
    meat loaf, meatloaf
    a baked loaf of ground meat
    casserole of eggplant and ground lamb with onion and tomatoes bound with white sauce and beaten eggs
    osso buco
    sliced veal knuckle or shin bone cooked with olive oil and wine and tomatoes and served with rice or vegetables
    pheasant under glass
    a dish of roast pheasant served in a manner characteristic of expensive restaurants
    pilaf, pilaff, pilau, pilaw
    rice cooked in well-seasoned broth with onions or celery and usually poultry or game or shellfish and sometimes tomatoes
    pizza, pizza pie
    Italian open pie made of thin bread dough spread with a spiced mixture of e.g. tomato sauce and cheese
    Hawaiian dish of taro root pounded to a paste and often allowed to ferment
    pork and beans
    dried beans cooked with pork and tomato sauce
    soft food made by boiling oatmeal or other meal or legumes in water or milk until thick
    deep-dish meat and vegetable pie or a meat stew with dumplings
    rijstafel, rijstaffel, rijsttaffel
    dish originating in Indonesia; a wide variety of foods and sauces are served with rice
    Italian rice, risotto
    rice cooked with broth and sprinkled with grated cheese
    a dish consisting of a slice of meat that is rolled around a filling and cooked
    Salisbury steak
    ground beef patty usually with a sauce
    pot roast marinated several days in seasoned vinegar before cooking; usually served with potato dumplings
    shredded cabbage fermented in brine
    scallopine, scallopini
    sauteed cutlets (usually veal or poultry) that have been pounded thin and coated with flour
    large shrimp sauteed in oil or butter and garlic
    Scotch egg
    hard-cooked egg encased in sausage meat then breaded and deep-fried
    Scotch woodcock
    creamy scrambled eggs on toast spread with anchovy paste
    scraps of meat (usually pork) boiled with cornmeal and shaped into loaves for slicing and frying
    spaghetti and meatballs
    spaghetti with meatballs in a tomato sauce
    Spanish rice
    spicy rice with tomatoes and onions and green peppers
    cannibal mound, steak tartare, tartar steak
    ground beef mixed with raw egg and e.g. onions and capers and anchovies; eaten raw
    pepper steak
    strips of steak sauteed with green peppers and onions
    pepper steak, peppered steak, steak au poivre
    steak covered with crushed peppercorns pan-broiled and served with brandy-and-butter sauce
    beef Stroganoff
    sauteed strips of beef and mushrooms in sour cream sauce served with noodles
    stuffed cabbage
    parboiled head of cabbage scooped out and filled with a hash of chopped e.g. beef or ham and baked; served with tomato or cheese sauce
    kishke, stuffed derma
    (Judaism) roasted fowl intestines with a seasoned filling of matzo meal and suet
    stuffed peppers
    parboiled green peppers stuffed usually with rice and meat and baked briefly
    hot stuffed tomato, stuffed tomato
    tomato cases filled with various mixtures and baked briefly
    cold stuffed tomato, stuffed tomato
    tomato cases filled with various salad mixtures and served cold
    fresh corn and lima beans with butter or cream
    thin beef strips (or chicken or pork) cooked briefly at the table with onions and greens and soy sauce
    very thinly sliced raw fish
    rice (with raw fish) wrapped in seaweed
    Swiss steak
    steak braised in tomato and onion mixture
    corn and cornmeal dough stuffed with a meat mixture then wrapped in corn husks and steamed
    tamale pie
    a meat mixture covered with cornbread topping that resembles a Mexican dish
    vegetables and seafood dipped in batter and deep-fried
    beef or chicken or seafood marinated in spicy soy sauce and grilled or broiled
    a pate or fancy meatloaf baked in an earthenware casserole
    Welsh rabbit, Welsh rarebit, rarebit
    cheese melted with ale or beer served over toast
    Wiener schnitzel, schnitzel
    deep-fried breaded veal cutlets
    a tortilla rolled cupped around a filling
    a flour tortilla folded around a filling
    a flat tortilla with various fillings piled on it
    frijoles refritos, refried beans
    dried beans cooked and mashed and then fried in lard with various seasonings
    a spicy dish that originated in northern Africa; consists of pasta steamed with a meat and vegetable stew
    ramekin, ramequin
    a cheese dish made with egg and bread crumbs that is baked and served in individual fireproof dishes
    mold, mould
    a dish or dessert that is formed in or on a mold
    an Indian stew made of simmered lentils or other legumes
    chicken casserole
    chicken cooked and served in a casserole
    soup du jour
    the soup that a restaurant is featuring on a given day
    alphabet soup
    soup that contains small noodles in the shape of letters of the alphabet
    clear soup usually of beef or veal or chicken
    a thick cream soup made from shellfish
    borsch, borscht, borsh, borshch, borsht, bortsch
    a Russian or Polish soup usually containing beet juice as a foundation
    a thin soup of meat or fish or vegetable stock
    broth, stock
    liquid in which meat and vegetables are simmered; used as a basis for e.g. soups or sauces
    chicken soup
    soup made from chicken broth
    cock-a-leekie, cocky-leeky
    soup made from chicken boiled with leeks
    a soup made with chopped tomatoes and onions and cucumbers and peppers and herbs; served cold
    a soup or stew thickened with okra pods
    a clear soup garnished with julienne vegetables
    soup cooked in a large pot
    mock turtle soup
    soup made from a calf's head or other meat in imitation of green turtle soup
    a soup of eastern India that is flavored with curry; prepared with a meat or chicken base
    oxtail soup
    a soup made from the skinned tail of an ox
    pea soup
    a thick soup made of dried peas (usually made into a puree)
    Philadelphia pepper pot, pepper pot
    a soup made with vegetables and tripe and seasoned with peppercorns; often contains dumplings
    minestrone, petite marmite, vegetable soup
    soup made with a variety of vegetables
    potage, pottage
    thick (often creamy) soup
    a stew of vegetables and (sometimes) meat
    green turtle soup, turtle soup
    soup usually made of the flesh of green turtles
    eggdrop soup
    made by stirring beaten eggs into a simmering broth
    a thick soup or stew usually containing seafood in a base of cream or tomatoes
    won ton, wonton, wonton soup
    a soup with won ton dumplings
    split-pea soup
    made of stock and split peas with onions carrots and celery
    green pea soup, potage St. Germain
    made of fresh green peas and stock with shredded lettuce onion and celery
    lentil soup
    made of stock and lentils with onions carrots and celery
    Scotch broth
    a thick soup made from beef or mutton with vegetables and pearl barley
    a creamy potato soup flavored with leeks and onions; usually served cold
    a Polish stew of cabbage and meat
    Brunswick stew
    spicy southern specialty: chicken (or small game) with corn and tomatoes and lima beans and okra and onions and potatoes
    thick spicy stew of whatever meat and whatever vegetables are available; southern United States
    Spanish burgoo, olla podrida
    Spanish version of burgoo
    Irish burgoo, mulligan, mulligan stew
    Irish version of burgoo
    chicken purloo, poilu, purloo
    thick stew made of rice and chicken and small game; southern U.S.
    Hungarian goulash, goulash, gulyas
    a rich meat stew highly seasoned with paprika
    a stew (or thick soup) made with meat and vegetables
    hot pot, hotpot
    a stew of meat and potatoes cooked in a tightly covered pot
    Irish stew
    meat (especially mutton) stewed with potatoes and onions
    oyster stew
    oysters in cream
    lobster stew
    diced lobster meat in milk or cream
    lobscouse, lobscuse, scouse
    a stew of meat and vegetables and hardtack that is eaten by sailors
    fish stew
    a stew made with fish
    pieces of chicken or other meat stewed in gravy with e.g. carrots and onions and served with noodles or dumplings
    beef stew
    a stew made with beef
    well-seasoned stew of meat and vegetables
    a vegetable stew; usually made with tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onion, and seasonings
    traditional French stew of vegetables and beef
    a thin stew of meat and vegetables
    fish mousse
    mousse made with fish
    chicken mousse
    mousse made with chicken
    carrot pudding
    pudding made with grated carrots
    corn pudding
    pudding made of corn and cream and egg
    creme caramel
    baked custard topped with caramel
    creme anglais
    custard sauce flavored with vanilla or a liqueur
    creme brulee
    custard sprinkled with sugar and broiled
    fruit custard
    a custard containing fruit
    Bavarian cream
    a rich custard set with gelatin
    apple turnover
    turnover with an apple filling
    (Yiddish) a baked or fried turnover filled with potato or meat or cheese; often eaten as a snack
    pirogi, piroshki, pirozhki
    small fruit or meat turnover baked or fried
    small turnover of Indian origin filled with vegetables or meat and fried and served hot
    fish ball, fish cake
    a fried ball or patty of flaked fish and mashed potatoes
    two (or more) slices of bread with a filling between them
    spaghetti served with a tomato sauce
    hasty pudding
    sweetened porridge made of tapioca or flour or oatmeal cooked quickly in milk or water
    a thin porridge (usually oatmeal or cornmeal)
    potato peel, potato peelings, potato skin
    crisp fried potato peeling
    Saratoga chip, chip, crisp, potato chip
    a thin crisp slice of potato fried in deep fat
    corn chip
    thin piece of cornmeal dough fried
    mushy peas
    marrowfat peas that have been soaked overnight and then boiled; served with fish and chips
    tossed salad
    salad tossed with a dressing
    cooked meats and eggs and vegetables usually arranged in rows around the plate and dressed with a salad dressing
    salad nicoise
    typically containing tomatoes and anchovies and garnished with black olives and capers
    potato salad
    any of various salads having chopped potatoes as the base
    pasta salad
    a salad having any of various pastas as the base
    fruit salad
    salad composed of fruits
    crab Louis
    lettuce and crabmeat dressed with sauce Louis
    herring salad
    based on pickled herring
    tuna fish salad, tuna salad
    salad composed primarily of chopped canned tuna fish
    chicken salad
    salad composed primarily of chopped chicken meat
    coleslaw, slaw
    a salad made with raw, shredded cabbage
    molded salad
    salad of meats or vegetables in gelatin
    tabbouleh, tabooli
    a finely chopped salad with tomatoes and parsley and mint and scallions and bulgur wheat
    lamb curry
    curry made with lamb
    hard-boiled egg, hard-cooked egg
    an egg boiled gently until both the white and the yolk solidify
    firm omelet
    eggs beaten with milk or cream and cooked until set
    fluffy omelet
    souffle-like omelet made by beating and adding the whites separately
    an Indian side dish of yogurt and chopped cucumbers and spices
    arroz con pollo
    rice and chicken cooked together Spanish style; highly seasoned especially with saffron
    tubular pasta filled with meat or cheese
    cheese souffle
    puffy dish of cheese and eggs (whites beaten separately) and white sauce
    chicken Tetrazzini
    chicken prepared in a cream sauce with mushrooms and served over pasta; usually topped with cheese
    egg foo yong, egg fu yung
    omelet containing onions and celery and chopped meat or fish
    cheese fondue
    fondue made of cheese melted in wine for dipping bread and sometimes fruits
    chocolate fondue
    fondue made of chocolate melted with milk or cream for dipping fruits
    beef fondue, boeuf fondu bourguignon
    cubes of beef cooked in hot oil and then dipped in various tasty sauces
    corned beef hash
    hash made with corned beef
    souvlaki, souvlakia
    made of lamb
    lasagna, lasagne
    baked dish of layers of lasagna pasta with sauce and cheese and meat or vegetables
    lobster Newburg, lobster a la Newburg
    lobster in Newburg sauce served on buttered toast or rice
    shrimp Newburg
    shrimp in Newburg sauce usually served in a rice ring
    macaroni and cheese
    macaroni prepared in a cheese sauce
    porcupine ball, porcupines
    meat patties rolled in rice and simmered in a tomato sauce
    Swedish meatball
    meatballs simmered in stock
    bulgur pilaf
    pilaf made with bulgur wheat instead of rice and usually without meat
    sausage pizza
    tomato and cheese pizza with sausage
    pepperoni pizza
    tomato and cheese pizza with pepperoni
    cheese pizza
    pizza with lots of cheese
    anchovy pizza
    tomato and cheese pizza with anchovies
    Sicilian pizza
    pizza made with a thick crust
    burgoo, oatmeal
    porridge made of rolled oats
    fish loaf
    flaked fish baked in a loaf with bread crumbs and various seasonings
    veal scallopini
    thin sauteed cutlets of veal
    chicken taco
    a taco with a chicken filling
    beef burrito
    a burrito with a beef filling
    a tortilla that is filled with cheese and heated
    bean tostada
    a flat tortilla topped with refried beans
    type of:
    aliment, alimentation, nourishment, nutriment, nutrition, sustenance, victuals
    a source of materials to nourish the body
  3. noun
    the quantity that a dish will hold
    “they served me a dish of rice”
    synonyms: dishful
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    type of:
    the quantity that a container will hold
  4. noun
    directional antenna consisting of a parabolic reflector for microwave or radio frequency radiation
    synonyms: dish aerial, dish antenna, saucer
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    a radar dish that rotates or oscillates in order to scan a broad area
    type of:
    directional antenna
    an antenna that transmits or receives signals only in a narrow angle
  5. verb
    make concave; shape like a dish
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    type of:
    form, shape
    give shape or form to
  6. verb
    provide (usually but not necessarily food)
    “She dished out the soup at 8 P.M.”
    synonyms: dish out, dish up, serve, serve up
    help, serve
    help to some food; help with food or drink
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    cook and serve on a plank
    type of:
    cater, ply, provide, supply
    give what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance
  7. noun
    a very attractive or seductive looking woman
    synonyms: beauty, knockout, looker, lulu, mantrap, peach, ravisher, smasher, stunner, sweetheart
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    type of:
    adult female, woman
    an adult female person (as opposed to a man)
  8. noun
    an activity that you like or at which you are superior
    “marriage was scarcely his dish
    synonyms: bag, cup of tea
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    type of:
    any specific behavior
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