any preparation, usually liquid or semiliquid, eaten as a gravy or as a relish accompanying food.
stewed fruit, often puréed and served as an accompaniment to meat, dessert, or other food: cranberry sauce.
something that adds piquance or zest.
Informal. impertinence; sauciness.
Slang. hard liquor (usually preceded by the ): He's on the sauce again.
Archaic. garden vegetables eaten with meat.
verb (used with object), sauced, saucing.
to dress or prepare with sauce; season: meat well sauced.
to make a sauce of: Tomatoes must be sauced while ripe.
to give piquance or zest to.
to make agreeable or less harsh.
Informal. to speak impertinently or saucily to.

1300–50; Middle English < Middle French < Late Latin salsa, noun use of feminine of Latin salsus salted, past participle of sallere to salt, derivative of sāl salt

sauceless, adjective
oversauce, verb (used with object), oversauced, oversaucing.

sauce, source. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To sauce
World English Dictionary
sauce (sɔːs)
1.  any liquid or semiliquid preparation eaten with food to enhance its flavour
2.  anything that adds piquancy
3.  (US), (Canadian) stewed fruit
4.  dialect (US) vegetables eaten with meat
5.  informal impudent language or behaviour
6.  to prepare (food) with sauce
7.  to add zest to
8.  to make agreeable or less severe
9.  informal to be saucy to
[C14: via Old French from Latin salsus salted, from salīre to sprinkle with salt, from sal salt]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1350, from O.Fr. sauce, sausse, from noun use of L. salsa, fem. sing. or neut. pl. of salsus "salted," from pp. of Old L. sallere "to salt," from sal (gen. salis) "salt" (see salt). Meaning "something which adds piquancy to words or actions" is recorded from c.1500; sense of
"impertinence" first recorded 1835 (see saucy, and cf. sass). Slang meaning "liquor" first attested 1940. Colloquial saucebox "one addicted to making saucy remarks" is from 1588.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with sauce, also see hit the bottle (sauce).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


liquid or semiliquid mixture that is added to a food as it cooks or that is served with it. Sauces provide flavour, moisture, and a contrast in texture and colour. They may also serve as a medium in which food is contained, for example, the veloute sauce of creamed chicken. Seasoning liquids (soy sauce, hot pepper sauce, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce) are used both as ingredients in cooking and at table as condiments.

Learn more about sauce with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Bring the stock, soy sauce and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.
Put the rice sticks in a bowl and ladle the vegetables and sauce on top.
When supplies ran out, some consumers turned to soy sauce and fermented bean
  curd, because of their saltiness.
Street-cart vendors sell them slathered in a garlicky sauce.
Idioms & Phrases
Image for sauce
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature