General English


  • A dilute solution (4 to 6 per cent) of acetic acid made by biological oxidation of alcoholic liquids such as ale, cider or wine. Known by its source i.e. malt vinegar (from ale), cider vinegar or red or white wine vinegar. Occasionally a cheap solution is made from chemically produced acetic acid which is known as spirit vinegar. Many flavourings are added to vinegar e.g. tarragon or garlic. Extensively used as a preservative and flavouring agent in all cuisines. Vinegar can be made by allowing a 15 per cent sugar solution to ferment, open to the air, for about 6 months using yeast and/or bread as a starter if mother of vinegar is not available.


  • noun liquid made from sour wine or cider, used in cooking and for preserving food


  • a sour-tasting liquid, mainly acetic acid, that is produced by the oxidation of the alcohol in wine or cider

Origin & History of “vinegar”

Etymologically, vinegar is ‘sour wine’. The term was borrowed from Old French vyn egre, whose elements went back respectively to Latin vīnum ‘wine’ (source of English wine) and acer ‘sharp, pungent’ (source of English eager). In modern French, vyn egre became vinaigre, and its diminutive form has given English vinaigrette (17th c.). this originally denoted a sort of small French carriage, which supposedly resembled a vinegar-seller’s cart; the modern application to an ‘oil-and-vinegar dressing’ is not recorded in English until the end of the 19th century.