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[kuhp] /kʌp/
a small, open container made of china, glass, metal, etc., usually having a handle and used chiefly as a receptable from which to drink tea, soup, etc.
the bowllike part of a goblet or the like.
a cup with its contents.
the quantity contained in a cup.
a unit of capacity, equal to 8 fluid ounces (237 milliliters) or 16 tablespoons; half-pint.
an ornamental bowl, vase, etc., especially of precious metal, offered as a prize for a contest.
any of various beverages, as a mixture of wine and various ingredients:
claret cup.
the chalice used in the Eucharist.
the wine of the Eucharist.
something to be partaken of or endured; one's portion, as of joy or suffering.
cups, the drinking of intoxicating liquors.
any cuplike utensil, organ, part, cavity, etc.
either of the two forms that cover and usually support the breasts in a brassiere or other garment, as a bathing suit.
an athletic supporter reinforced with rigid plastic or metal for added protection.
  1. the metal receptacle within the hole.
  2. the hole itself.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Crater.
Metalworking. a cylindrical shell closed at one end, especially one produced in the first stages of a deep-drawing operation.
Mathematics. the cuplike symbol ∪, used to indicate the union of two sets.
Compare union (def 10a).
verb (used with object), cupped, cupping.
to take or place in, or as in, a cup:
He cupped his ear with the palm of his hand.
to form into a cuplike shape:
He cupped his hands.
to use a cupping glass on.
Metalworking. to form (tubing, containers, etc.) by punching hot strip or sheet metal and drawing it through a die.
Compare deep-draw.
in one's cups, intoxicated; drunk.
Origin of cup
before 1000; Middle English, Old English cuppe < Latin cuppa, variant of cūpa tub, cask
Related forms
cuplike, adjective
undercup, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cup
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Are you inclined to part with the cup that belonged to my namesake Plutarch?

    The Emperor, Complete Georg Ebers
  • He raised his cup to his lips, took a sip, and set it down again.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • I played on my pipe at the Echo, and then drank a cup of ale at Jacob's.

  • She came in at three o'clock, and Katie gave her a cup of tea.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • But we've quite finished—unless you will have a cup of coffee with us?

    Narcissus Evelyn Scott
British Dictionary definitions for cup


a small open container, usually having one handle, used for drinking from
the contents of such a container: that cup was too sweet
Also called teacup, cupful. a unit of capacity used in cooking equal to approximately half a pint, 8 fluid ounces, or about one quarter of a litre
something resembling a cup in shape or function, such as the flower base of some plants of the rose family or a cuplike bodily organ
either of two cup-shaped parts of a brassiere, designed to support the breasts
a cup-shaped trophy awarded as a prize
  1. a sporting contest in which a cup is awarded to the winner
  2. (as modifier): a cup competition
a mixed drink with one ingredient as a base, usually served from a bowl: claret cup
(golf) the hole or metal container in the hole on a green
the chalice or the consecrated wine used in the Eucharist
one's lot in life
in one's cups, drunk
(informal) one's cup of tea, one's chosen or preferred thing, task, company, etc: she's not my cup of tea
verb (transitive) cups, cupping, cupped
to form (something, such as the hands) into the shape of a cup
to put into or as if into a cup
(archaic) to draw blood to the surface of the body of (a person) by using a cupping glass
Derived Forms
cuplike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English cuppe, from Late Latin cuppa cup, alteration of Latin cūpa cask
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cup

Old English cuppe, from Late Latin cuppa "cup" (source of Italian coppa, Spanish copa, Old French coupe "cup"), from Latin cupa "tub, cask, tun, barrel," from PIE *keup- "a hollow" (cf. Sanskrit kupah "hollow, pit, cave," Greek kype "a kind of ship," Old Church Slavonic kupu, Lithuanian kaupas).

The Late Latin word was borrowed throughout Germanic; cf. Old Frisian kopp "cup, head," Middle Low German kopp "cup," Middle Dutch coppe, Dutch kopje "cup, head." German cognate Kopf now means exclusively "head" (cf. French tête, from Latin testa "potsherd"). Meaning "part of a bra that holds a breast" is from 1938. [One's] cup of tea "what interests one" (1932), earlier used of persons (1908), the sense being "what is invigorating."


late 14c., "to draw blood by cupping," from cup (n.). Meaning "to form a cup" is from 1830. Related: Cupped; cupping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cup in Medicine

cup (kŭp)

  1. A cup-shaped structure or organ.

  2. See cupping glass.

  3. A unit of capacity or volume equal to 16 tablespoons or 8 fluid ounces.

v. cupped, cup·ping, cups
To subject a person or body part to the therapeutic procedure of cupping.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Related Abbreviations for cup


Cambridge University Press
cancer of unknown primary
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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cup in the Bible

a wine-cup (Gen. 40:11, 21), various forms of which are found on Assyrian and Egyptian monuments. All Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold (1 Kings 10: 21). The cups mentioned in the New Testament were made after Roman and Greek models, and were sometimes of gold (Rev. 17:4). The art of divining by means of a cup was practiced in Egypt (Gen. 44:2-17), and in the East generally. The "cup of salvation" (Ps. 116:13) is the cup of thanksgiving for the great salvation. The "cup of consolation" (Jer. 16:7) refers to the custom of friends sending viands and wine to console relatives in mourning (Prov. 31:6). In 1 Cor. 10:16, the "cup of blessing" is contrasted with the "cup of devils" (1 Cor. 10:21). The sacramental cup is the "cup of blessing," because of blessing pronounced over it (Matt. 26:27; Luke 22:17). The "portion of the cup" (Ps. 11:6; 16:5) denotes one's condition of life, prosperous or adverse. A "cup" is also a type of sensual allurement (Jer. 51:7; Prov. 23:31; Rev. 17:4). We read also of the "cup of astonishment," the "cup of trembling," and the "cup of God's wrath" (Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17; Jer. 25:15; Lam. 4:21; Ezek. 23:32; Rev. 16:19; comp. Matt. 26:39, 42; John 18:11). The cup is also the symbol of death (Matt. 16:28; Mark 9:1; Heb. 2:9).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with cup


In addition to the idiom beginning with cup also see: in one's cups
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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