I know what a side dish is, but I can't figure out its figurative meaning. Can you please give a definition to it.

The daily Beast started as an aggregator with some original reporting as a side dish.

2 Answers 2


A side dish accompanies the main part of a meal, making it complete. But the primary focus is not on the side dish.

The figurative meaning is the same - something that is a part of the whole package, but of lesser importance.

Another frequently used metaphor would be a supporting actor.


A side dish can also be a person you're seeing intimately outside of your primary monogamous romantic relationship.

I'm having a hard time finding this definition anywhere other than Urban Dictionary at the moment.

  • 7
    While technically true, the reason you are having trouble finding this definition outside of Urban Dictionary is that this is really informal and somewhat 'new' slang. Dec 26, 2019 at 19:48
  • 2
    @AustinHemmelgarn no argument on it being really informal, but it's not new. When I saw the title in HNQ, I actually thought the question was going to be about this usage; was surprised to see it wasn't.
    – briantist
    Dec 26, 2019 at 19:54
  • 8
    And not a good fit in the given context, unless you want to insinuate that the website has a second business model.
    – Stephie
    Dec 26, 2019 at 20:31
  • 1
    @Stephie haha definitely true, just added for completeness (someone finding that context may do a search and end up on this question as well)
    – briantist
    Dec 26, 2019 at 20:57
  • 5
    I've seen this (in very informal slang) referred to as a "side piece"/"side chick", never a "side dish".
    – V2Blast
    Dec 27, 2019 at 1:09

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