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KETCHUP: Also catchup, Catsup. A condiment consisting of a thick, smooth-textured, spicy sauce usually made from tomatoes.[Probably Malay kechap, fish sauce possibly from Chinese (Cantonese) ke-tsiap]
Notes: The word ketchup exemplifies the types of modifications that can take place in the borrowing process, both in the borrowing of a word and in the borrowing of a substance. The source of our word ketchup may be the Malay word kechap, possibly taken into Malay from the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. Kechap, like our word, referred to a kind of sauce, but a sauce without tomatoes; rather, it contained fish brine, herbs, and spices. The sauce seems to have emigrated to Europe by way of sailors, where it was made with locally available ingredients such as the juice of mushrooms or walnuts. At some point, when the juice of tomatoes was first used, ketchup as we know it was born. However, it is important to realize that in the 18th and 19th centuries ketchup was a generic term for sauces whose only common ingredient was vinegar. The word is first recorded in English in 1690 in the form catchup, in 1711 in the form ketchup, and in 1730 in the form catsup. These three spelling variants of a foreign borrowing remain current.

Source: American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition 1992 MM by Dorothy Flatman 1997 From: Dorothy Flatman Date: 06 Mar 97

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