1711, following earlier catchup (1690), of disputed origin. Originally referred to a sauce from South/Southeast/East Asia – 1690: East Indies (region generally); 1711: Tonkin (northern Vietnam) and China.
Most likely from Malay kicap, from Min Nan Chinese 鮭汁 (kê-chiap, “brine of fish (namely salmon)”), though precise path is unclear – there are related words in various Chinese dialects, and it may have entered English directly from Chinese. Cognate to Indonesian kecap, ketjap (“soy sauce”). Various other theories exist – see Ketchup: Terminology for extended discussion.
Catsup (earlier catchup) is an alternative Anglicization, still in use in the U.S.
ketchup (countable and uncountable, plural ketchups)
- (uncountable) A tomato-vinegar-based sauce.
- (US standards of identity) A food comprising tomato concentrate and any of vinegar, sweetener, spices, flavoring, onion, and garlic.
- (countable) Such a sauce more generally (not necessarily based on tomatoes).
ketchup (third-person singular simple present ketchups, present participle ketchupping, simple past and past participle ketchupped)
- (transitive) To cover with ketchup.