AskDefine | Define soup

Dictionary Definition



1 liquid food especially of meat or fish or vegetable stock often containing pieces of solid food
2 any composition having a consistency suggestive of soup
3 an unfortunate situation; "we're in the soup now" v : dope (a racehorse)

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /suːp/, /su:p/


  1. A dish made from various foods which are mixed together in a pot usually with broth and usually cooked

Related terms



See also

Extensive Definition

Soup is a food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat or vegetables in stock or hot/boiling water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth. It is sometimes confused with stew.
Traditionally, soups are classified into two broad groups: clear soups and thick soups. The established French classifications of clear soups are bouillon and consommé. Thick soups are classified depending upon the type of thickening agent used: purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish thickened with cream; cream soups are thickened with béchamel sauce; and veloutés are thickened with eggs, butter and cream. Other ingredients commonly used to thicken soups and broths include rice, flour, and grain.
One of the first types of soups can be dated to about 6000 BC. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers (which probably came in the form of pouches made of clay or animal skin) about 9,000 years ago.


The word soup originates from "sop", a dish originally consisting of a soup or thick stew which was soaked up with pieces of bread. The modern meaning of sop has been limited to just the bread intended to be dipped.
The word restaurant was first used in France in the 16th century, to describe a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors called restaurer, that was advertised as an antidote to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in restaurers. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant to describe the shops.
In America, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742, based on Eliza Smith's The Compleat Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion and it included several recipes for soups and bisques. A 1772 cookbook, The Frugal Housewife, contained an entire chapter on the topic. English cooking dominated early colonial cooking; but as new immigrants arrived from other countries, other national soups gained popularity. In particular, German immigrants living in Pennsylvania were famous for their potato soups. In 1794, Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, a refugee from the French Revolution, opened an eating establishment in Boston called Restorator, and became known as "The Prince of Soups." The first American cooking pamphlet dedicated to soup recipes was written in 1882 by Emma Ewing: Soups and Soup Making.
Portable soup was devised in the 18th century by boiling seasoned meat until a thick, resinous syrup was left that could be dried and stored for months at a time. The Japanese miso is an example of a concentrated soup paste.

Commercial soup

Commercial soup became popular with the invention of canning in the 19th century, and today a great variety of canned and dried soups are on the market. Dr. John T. Dorrance, a chemist with the Campbell Soup Company invented condensed soup in 1897. Today, Campbell's Tomato, Cream of Mushroom and Chicken Noodle soups are three of the most popular soups in America. Americans consume approximately 2.5 billion bowls of these three soups alone each year. Vegetable, chicken base, potato, pasta and cheese soups are also available in dry mix form, ready to be served by adding hot water.

Nutritional developments

  • Salt - In response to concern over the health effects of excessive salt intake soup manufacturers have introduced reduced-salt versions of popular soups.
  • Trans fat - Concern over coronary heart disease has led soup manufacturers to eliminate trans fats from their soups.

Types of soup

Dessert soups

Fruit soups

Fruit soups are served hot or cold depending on the recipe. Many recipes are for cold soups served when fruit is in season during hot weather. Some like Norwegian 'fruktsuppe' may be served hot and rely on dried fruit such as raisins and prunes and so could be made in any season. Fruit soups may include milk, sweet or savoury dumplings, spices, or alcoholic beverages like brandy or champagne.
Cold fruit soups are most common in Scandinavian, Baltic and Eastern European cuisines while hot fruit soups with meat appear in Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Chinese cuisines. Fruit soups are uncommon or absent in the cuisines of the Americas, Africa and Western Europe. They are also not seen in Japan, Southeast Asia or Oceania.
  • Winter melon soup is a Chinese soup, usually with a chicken stock base. It is a savory soup, often including other vegetables and mushrooms. Technically, the winter melon is a fruit, since it is a seed bearing body, but in practical use, it is a vegetable. Winter melon soup is often presented as a whole winter melon, filled with stock, vegetables and meat, that has been steamed for hours. The skin is decoratively cut, so that what is presented is a decorative centerpiece, smaller than a medicine ball, larger than a soccer ball, filled with soup. The flesh of the melon is scooped out with the soup.

Cold soups

Cold soups are a particular variation on the traditional soup, wherein the temperature when served is kept at or below room temperature. In summer, they can form part of a dessert tray. Gazpacho is a cold vegetable soup from Spain.

Asian soups

A feature of East Asian soups not normally found in Western cuisine is the use of tofu in soups. Many traditional East Asian soups are typically broths, clear soups, or starch thickened soups. Many soups are eaten and drunk as much for their flavour as well as for their health benefits.

Traditional regional soups

Soup as a figure of speech

In the English language, the word "soup" has developed several phrasal uses.
  • Alphabet soup is a term often used to describe a large amount of acronyms used by an administration, and has its roots in a common tomato-based soup containing pasta shaped in the letters of the alphabet.
  • Primordial soup is a term used to describe the organic mixture leading to the development of life.
  • A soup kitchen is a place that serves prepared food of any kind to the homeless.
  • Pea soup describes a thick or dense fog.
  • "Soup legs" is an informal or slang term used by athletes to describe fatigue or exhaustion.
  • "Stone soup" is a popular children's fable.
  • Duck soup is a term to describe a task that is particularly easy.
  • Word soup refers to any collection of words that is ostensibly incomprehensible.
  • Tag soup further refers to poorly coded HTML
  • Soup Fire! can be used an expression of surprise.

See also

Literary references

  • Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food (2002). New York: Free Press ISBN 0-7432-2644-5
  • Larousse Gastronomique, Jennifer Harvey Lang, ed. American Edition (1988). New York: Crown Publishers ISBN 0-609-60971-8
  • Morton, Mark. Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities (2004). Toronto: Insomniac Press ISBN 1-894663-66-7
  • The Mighty Boosh. Soup, Soup, A Tasty Soup, Soup (2005).


soup in Arabic: حساء
soup in Bulgarian: Супа
soup in Catalan: Sopa
soup in Czech: Polévka
soup in Danish: Suppe
soup in German: Suppe
soup in Spanish: Sopa
soup in Esperanto: Supo
soup in French: Soupe
soup in Scottish Gaelic: Brot
soup in Galician: Sopa
soup in Indonesian: Sup
soup in Icelandic: Súpa
soup in Italian: Minestra
soup in Hebrew: מרק
soup in Kinyarwanda: Isupu
soup in Latvian: Zupa
soup in Lithuanian: Sriuba
soup in Limburgan: Sop
soup in Dutch: Soep (voedsel)
soup in Dutch Low Saxon: Soop
soup in Japanese: スープ
soup in Norwegian: Suppe
soup in Norwegian Nynorsk: Suppe
soup in Narom: Souope
soup in Polish: Zupa
soup in Portuguese: Sopa
soup in Russian: Суп
soup in Simple English: Soup
soup in Serbian: Супа
soup in Finnish: Keitto
soup in Swedish: Soppa
soup in Tagalog: Sabaw
soup in Turkish: Çorba
soup in Yiddish: זופ
soup in Samogitian: Zopė
soup in Chinese: 汤

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

CAT, aerospace, aerosphere, air hole, air pocket, airspace, albumen, batter, bisque, bonnyclabber, borscht, bouillabaisse, bouillon, box, broth, bump, burgoo, butter, ceiling, chicken soup, chowder, clabber, clam chowder, clear soup, consomme, corner, cornstarch, cream, crosswind, curd, developer, dilemma, dough, egg drop soup, egg white, empty space, favorable wind, fish soup, fix, fixer, fixing bath, fog, front, gaum, gazpacho, gel, gelatin, glair, glop, glue, gluten, goo, gook, goop, gravy soup, gruel, gumbo, gunk, head wind, high-pressure area, hole, hypo, ionosphere, jam, jell, jelly, jetstream, julienne, lath, loblolly, low-pressure area, matzo ball soup, mere shadow, minestrone, misoshiru soup, mock turtle soup, molasses, mucilage, mucus, mulligatawny, overcast, oxtail soup, pap, paper, paste, pickle, plight, pocket, porridge, pot-au-feu, potage, potage au tomate, potato soup, pottage, processing solution, pudding, pulp, puree, putty, rail, rake, rob, roughness, scrape, semifluid, semiliquid, shadow, shaving, short-stop, short-stop bath, size, skeleton, slat, slip, sodium hyposulfite, sodium thiosulfate, space, splinter, starch, sticky mess, stock, stop bath, stratosphere, streak, substratosphere, syrup, tail wind, thick soup, thin soup, tomato soup, treacle, tropopause, troposphere, trough, turbulence, turtle soup, vegetable soup, vein, vichyssoise, visibility, visibility zero, wafer, won ton soup
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