What do we know about German and English ‘ketchup’?

English: ketchup

German: der/das Ketchup or der/das Ketschup

Where does this word come from?

The origin of this word is unclear. It is said to be from Malay kichap, but according to another source it comes from Cantonese 茄 (ke4) 汁 (jap1). Kichap is consider to be not original to Malay. Cantonese 茄 汁 might come from Cantonese tomato (番茄 fānqié) und juice (汁 zhī) or according to another version a word koechiap ‘brine of fish’ is authentic to a Chinese community in Northern Vietnam.

A word ‘catsup‘ (cat+sup) is still used in the USA for ketchup. In 1680s a word ‘catchup’ was used, but later was substituted for catsup.

Original ketchup was very different from what we see today. A word ‘ketchup’ meant a fish sauce and was used in English for a variety of gravies and sauces. Would you love to try walnut, mushroom or oyster ketchup? 🙂

Nowadays, when I see labels such as ‘hot ketchup’, ‘curry ketchup’, ‘chili ketchup’ I tend to think this is something new, new varieties of tomato ketchup. Well, I am obviously wrong. Everything new is actually well-forgotten old!

Tomato ketchup appeared in the USA around 1800, it became popular from early 20 c.

Ketchup is not only a truly international product, but also the word!



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