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[saws] /sɔs/
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
Related forms
sauceless, adjective
oversauce, verb (used with object), oversauced, oversaucing.
Can be confused
sauce, source. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sauce
  • 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.
  • The ends stuck in the aioli end up soggy and overwhelmed by too much of the spicy sauce.
  • Porcini-laced meat sauce and grand meatballs top spaghetti for a crowd.
  • Make sure there is still some liquid left, as this will help make up the sauce later.
  • Spoon the yogurt sauce over the fish and arugula, and serve.
  • My dad could never see it, but there really is more to life than warm beer and brown sauce on everything.
  • What they are not yet able to offer, though, is a way to get the last bit of sauce out of the bottle.
British Dictionary definitions for sauce


any liquid or semiliquid preparation eaten with food to enhance its flavour
anything that adds piquancy
(US & Canadian) stewed fruit
(US, dialect) vegetables eaten with meat
(informal) impudent language or behaviour
verb (transitive)
to prepare (food) with sauce
to add zest to
to make agreeable or less severe
(informal) to be saucy to
Derived Forms
sauceless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin salsus salted, from salīre to sprinkle with salt, from sal salt
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 sauce

mid-14c., from Old French sauce, sausse, from Latin salsa "things salted, salt food," noun use of fem. singular or neuter plural of adjective salsus "salted," from past participle of Old Latin sallere "to salt," from sal (genitive salis) "salt" (see salt (n.)).

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.


mid-15c., "to season," from sauce (n.). From 1862 as "to speak impertinently." Related: Sauced; saucing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sauce


  1. Impudence; impertinence; lip, sass (1835+)
  2. A steroid drug used for body-building; 'roid (mid1980s+)
Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with sauce


In addition to the idiom beginning with sauce also see: hit the bottle (sauce)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for sauce

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.
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