Where does the word “ketchup” (catsup) come from and What does ketchup mean in Chinese?

Manufacturers will continue to spell it catchup and catsup, but the spelling here shown is that which best resembles its source, the Chinese term, ke-tsiap.

The Dutch, who were heavy importers of this Asiatic condiment in the eighteenth century, spelled it ketjap, indicating a pronunciation very similar to ketchup.

The original importation, however, was a sauce composed from the juices of edible fungi, chiefly mushrooms, salted for preservation and spiced.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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