Word for Wednesday: Ketchup

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for August is condiments.

condiment is added to food to enhance its flavour. The word has been used in English since the mid-fifteenth century and comes from the Latin ‘condire’ meaning ‘to pickle’.

Last week, we looked at the word mustard and today’s condiment is ketchup.

Ketchup is a red sauce made from tomatoes and vinegar. It is often used as a relish in burgers or eaten with chips (or French fries if you speak American English!).

This condiment was first known in English as 'catchup' and later as 'catsup' (the latter of which is still sometimes used in American Engish). The word we use today – ketchup – dates to 1711 but its origin is ambiguous. One theory is that it comes from the Malay ‘kicap’ meaning ‘soy sauce’. Another is that it comes from the Chinese ‘koechiap’ meaning ‘brine of fish’. Early versions of ketchup included ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts, and shellfish; and bottled tomato ketchup as we know it today wasn’t common until the twentieth century. 

10 Aug 2022
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