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[souuh r-doh, sou-er-] /ˈsaʊərˌdoʊ, ˈsaʊ ər-/
leaven, especially fermented dough retained from one baking and used, rather than fresh yeast, to start the next.
a prospector or pioneer, especially in Alaska or Canada.
any longtime resident, especially in Alaska or Canada.
leavened with sourdough:
sourdough bread.
Origin of sourdough
1275-1325; Middle English; see sour, dough Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sourdough
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • sourdough, who belonged to the Scotty Phillips outfit over on the Indian lands, had ridden straight on to do night-herd duty.

    Land of the Burnt Thigh Edith Eudora Kohl
  • North of sourdough Mountains, in the northeastern part of the Park.

    Mount Rainier Various
  • Anyhow, whole-wheat pancakes made with sourdough for the ninth "morning" running was too damned much!

    Let'em Breathe Space Lester del Rey
  • A part of sourdough Mountains in the northeastern part of the Park.

    Mount Rainier Various
  • But Sam was seriously injured one day when his sourdough barrel blew up and Big Joe was employed.

  • sourdough will have his salute as boss, or he'll have blood.

    Jan A. J. Dawson
  • His obsession made him certain in his own mind that the redoubtable sourdough could certainly kill any dog.

    Jan A. J. Dawson
  • It was a part of sourdough's pose or policy in life to profess short-sightedness.

    Jan A. J. Dawson
British Dictionary definitions for sourdough


(dialect) (of bread) made with fermented dough used as a leaven
(in Western US, Canada, and Alaska) an old-time prospector or pioneer
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 sourdough

early 14c., "leavened bread," also "leaven" (late 14c.), from sour (adj.) + dough. Meaning "fermented dough" is from 1868. The meaning "Arctic prospector or pioneer" is from 1898 Yukon gold rush, from the practice of saving a lump of fermented dough as leaven for raising bread baked during the winter.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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