The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #1278415
Posted By: Amos
22-Sep-04 - 01:33 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
American Heritage On Line offers:

VARIANT FORMS: also catch·up ( kchp, kch-) or cat·sup ( ktsp,   kchp, kch-)

NOUN: A condiment consisting of a thick, smooth-textured, spicy sauce usually made from tomatoes.

ETYMOLOGY: Probably Malay kicap, fish sauce, possibly from Chinese (Cantonese) k-chap, equivalent to Chinese (Mandarin) qié, eggplant + Chinese (Mandarin) zh, sap, gravy.

WORD HISTORY: The word ketchup exemplifies the types of modifications that can take place in borrowing—both of words and substances. The source of our word ketchup may be the Malay word kchap, possibly taken into Malay from the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. Kchap, like ketchup, was a sauce, but one without tomatoes; rather, it contained fish brine, herbs, and spices. Sailors seem to have brought the sauce to Europe, where it was made with locally available ingredients such as the juice of mushrooms or walnuts. At some unknown point, when the juice of tomatoes was first used, ketchup as we know it was born. But 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. All three spelling variants of this foreign borrowing remain current.