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To place food in a liquid so that they will absorb flavor, give off flavor, or become more tender.
Macerate is the term usually reserved for fruits.
Marinate is used for meats.
A marinade can be used to marinate or to macerate a product. The real difference is the length of time in which the product is placed into the marinade. Meat for example, if allowed to marinate for too long, will fall apart into finer pieces. This is referred to as macerated.