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[kech-uh p, kach-] /ˈkɛtʃ əp, ˈkætʃ-/
a condiment consisting of puréed tomatoes, onions, vinegar, sugar, spices, etc.
any of various other condiments or sauces for meat, fish, etc.:
mushroom ketchup; walnut ketchup.
Also, catchup, catsup.
Origin of ketchup
dialectal Chinese
1705-15; < Malay kəchap fish sauce, perhaps < dialectal Chinese kéjāp (Guangdong) or ke-tsiap (Xiamen), akin to Chinese qié eggplant + chī juice Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ketchup
  • New coating should make it easier to get more ketchup or mayonnaise out of the containers.
  • Well, now we're heading for a similar ketchup effect for real functioning renewable technologies.
  • If you are looking in your fridge for the ketchup bottle, you go over and over and can't find it.
  • The ketchup, red and decadent, embedded with little flecks of grated onion.
  • They smothered their food with tomato ketchup and slopped it all over the bed.
  • Perhaps education is more important than ketchup leaving a bottle.
  • Or dipping excellently crispy crinkle-cut fries into ketchup.
  • Heinz makes the default ketchup the dominant ketchup.
  • The world really doesn't need purple ketchup, blueberry vodka or talking toasters.
  • ketchup is the opposite: its viscosity decreases under pressure.
British Dictionary definitions for ketchup


any of various piquant sauces containing vinegar: tomato ketchup
Word Origin
C18: from Chinese (Amoy) kōetsiap brine of pickled fish, from kōe seafood + tsiap sauce
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 ketchup

1711, said to be from Malay kichap, but probably not original to Malay. It might have come from Chinese koechiap "brine of fish," which, if authentic, perhaps is from the Chinese community in northern Vietnam [Terrien de Lacouperie, in "Babylonian and Oriental Record," 1889, 1890]. Catsup (earlier catchup, 1680s) is a failed attempt at Englishing, still in use in U.S., influenced by cat and sup.

Originally a fish sauce, the word came to be used in English for a wide variety of spiced gravies and sauces; "Apicius Redivivus; or, the Cook's Oracle," by William Kitchiner, London, 1817, devotes 7 pages to recipes for different types of catsup (his book has 1 spelling of ketchup, 72 of catsup), including walnut, mushroom, oyster, cockle and mussel, tomata, white (vinegar and anchovies figure in it), cucumber, and pudding catsup. Chambers's Encyclopaedia (1870) lists mushroom, walnut, and tomato ketchup as "the three most esteemed kinds." Tomato ketchup emerged c.1800 in U.S. and predominated from early 20c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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