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ketchup (kèch´ep, kàch´-) also catchup (kàch´ep, kèch´-)  or  catsup (kàt´sep, kàch´ep, kèch´-) noun
A condiment consisting of a thick, smooth-textured, spicy sauce usually made from tomatoes.

[Probably Malay kêchap, fish sauce, possibly from Chinese (Cantonese) kê-tsiap.]

Word History: The word ketchup exemplifies the types of modifications that can take place in the borrowing internal linkprocess, 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 kêchap, possibly taken into Malay from the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. Kêchap, 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 internal linkmushrooms 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.

Food and Drink, 1876

Heinz's Tomato Ketchup is introduced by Pittsburgh's H. J. Heinz who joins with his brother and a cousin to establish F. and J. Heinz. Heinz packs pickles and other foods as well as the ketchup, which is 29 percent sugar.

H. J. Heinz erects an internal linkelectric sign six stories high with 1,200 internal linklights to tell New Yorkers about the "57 Good Things for the Table" that include Heinz tomato soup, tomato ketchup, sweet pickles, India relish, and peach butter

Food and Drink, 1981

The U.S. Department of Agriculture responds to cuts in the school lunch program by announcing in September that ketchup can be counted as a vegetable. The public outcry forces President Reagan to restore funds for school lunches.

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Each country has a different use for ketchup.  The most common uses of the condiment are:

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