Webster 1828 Edition



Preparing victuals for the table.

Definition 2024





cooking (countable and uncountable, plural cookings)

  1. (uncountable) The process of preparing food by using heat.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 6, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad:
      The men resided in a huge bunk house, which consisted of one room only, with a shack outside where the cooking was done. In the large room were a dozen bunks; half of them in a very dishevelled state, […]
    • 1995, Padraic O'Farrell, chapter 6, in Ancient Irish Legends:
      The cooking took a long time. Fionn built a spit from the ash that the salmon had knocked down.
    • 2014, Vickie Vaclavik, Elizabeth W. Christian, Essentials of Food Science, page 97:
      Of nutritional benefit in cooking is a short cooking time in a minimal amount of water or steaming the vegetables. Yet, there are times when just the opposite, that is lengthy cooking, with plentiful water may be desirable to achieve mild taste–foods such as mild tasting cooked onions may benefit from lengthy cooking and plentiful water.
  2. (countable, rare) An instance of preparing food by using heat.
    • 1904, Winston Churchill, The Crossing, page 1:
      In the tiny kitchen a dozen men and a boy tried to hush their breathing, and sweltered. For it was very hot, and the pent-up odor of past cookings was stifling to men used to the open
    • 1992, R. S. Khare, The Eternal Food: Gastronomic Ideas and Experiences of Hindus and Buddhists, page 194:
      This culinary process is but the first in a series of cookings, of which the intracorporeal cookings constitute the rest.
    • 2004, Michael Symons, A History of Cooks and Cooking, page 95:
      Historian Madeleine Pelner Cosman addresses the multiple cookings of single dishes in medieval recipes. Why would a veal stew require four changes of pot and five separate cookings?
  3. The result of preparing food by using heat.
    1. (uncountable) One's ability to prepare food; cookery.
      My cooking isn't very good. I don't have any idea how to prepare a good meal.
      I missed my mum's cooking while I was at university.
      • 2005, Diana Kirk, Sex, Lies and Rodeo Games, page 67:
        "I know his cooking is bad, but [] " She fluffed the pillows and placed them behind Suzanne's neck. "I thought Josh's cooking was much worse than Matt's, but I guess the bad-cook crown goes to the big guy."
      • 2012, J. M. Waters, Grey Falcon, page 14:
        His cooking is good to mediocre and most of the time, simple and filling.
      • 2013, Anna Bromley, Wild Animals and Wedding Outfits, page 145:
        Azie is a charming and attentive host. His cooking is excellent and the meals he prepares seem healthy and nutritious.
    2. (uncountable) The style or genre of food preparation.
      What you've produced is a perfect example of authentic Chinese cooking.
      • 2001, Reiko Weston, Cooking the Japanese Way, page 9:
        One of the most common styles of Japanese cooking is called nimono.
      • 2007, Andrea Broomfield, Food and Cooking in Victorian England: A History, page 3:
        No one, regardless of money and status, could work very successfully outside these variables, and as a result, people's diet and cooking were largely the same, although the rich could afford more food and more variety than could the poor.
      • 2009, Pat Chapman, India Food and Cooking: The Ultimate Book on Indian Cuisine, page 53:
        Though sesame is a minor spice in Indian cooking, it is an important export crop there. It has a somewhat neutral, nutty taste and it is used to texture delicate cooking.


Derived terms



cooking (not comparable)

  1. (informal) In progress, happening.
    The project took a few days to gain momentum, but by the end of the week, things were really cooking.



  1. present participle of cook