Definition of cup in English:

cup

noun

  • 1A small bowl-shaped container for drinking from, typically having a handle.

    • ‘I was so shocked, I dropped my cup of hot cocoa and gasped.’
    • ‘Travel jugs and water boilers are increasingly popular, many including stowaway drinking cups.’
    • ‘The tea grew cold quickly in the enameled tin cups, but we drank it for the water and the wheaty taste of lemongrass, and with it we ate ginger biscuits.’
    • ‘I filled a paper cup with water while I got out the bottle.’
    • ‘He went to a cooler and filled a paper cup with water.’
    • ‘"Here, " she said, and put the cup to his lips.’
    • ‘The friend and I both have the same cunning plan, and liberate some of the cups for drinks.’
    • ‘At which point, to my astonishment, a midwife suggested feeding her formula but, to avoid spoiling her with a latex teat, she suggested the baby drink it from a cup.’
    • ‘"Yes, yes I am, " I replied shakily, carefully setting the china cup on the table.’
    • ‘I lifted the plastic cup to my lips again, and took a swig.’
    • ‘Two cups of steaming cocoa appeared in front of them on the coffee table.’
    • ‘"It's not by choice, " he muttered, and crushed his empty plastic cup in his hands.’
    • ‘I nodded and he stood up, gathering the styrofoam containers and empty soft drink cups and crumpled napkins.’
    • ‘I can't quite put my finger on what it is, and I start looking around the room for moldy food or drink cups or small, dead animals.’
    • ‘If necessary, use a disposable drinking cup inside to hold water.’
    • ‘It shows men drinking from porcelain cups without handles, and coffee being served from a metal or earthenware jug.’
    • ‘Some fans continued throwing, hurling their souvenirs, drink cups, beer bottles, batteries, portable radios and cell phones onto the field.’
    • ‘Australians drink coffee in smaller cups, our baristas tend to swirl the milk a little less, and we have completely different terminology.’
    • ‘Her arm threw the empty, bare styrofoam cup harshly into the wastebasket.’
    • ‘It has been suggested an underground vault contains the Holy Grail, a cup from which Christ drank, and the Ark of the Covenant.’
    1. 1.1 The contents of a cup.
      ‘a strong cup of tea’
      • ‘She says: ‘Next time I shall treat myself to more than a cup of tea!’’
      • ‘For 5 yuan, a visitor can get a cup of Sichuan tea and sit among bamboo and trees for as long as a whole day.’
      • ‘We drink it all up like a nice cup of warm cocoa.’
      • ‘After the talk there will be a cup of tea and some light entertainment.’
      • ‘Together we drank five cups and the pot was still not dry.’
      • ‘When students were asked how many cups of coffee they drink in a day (on average), the results were surprising.’
      • ‘And you're asked to drink cups and cups of it, and answer a zillion very specific questions about the taste.’
      • ‘Jacket potatoes cost £1.30 and a cup of tea was 50 pence.’
      • ‘Business leaders gave the ruling a cautious welcome, saying they trusted employees not to turn up to work drunk, but to use pubs as a place to be sociable, watch the football and enjoy a cup of coffee.’
      • ‘He hopes (as we all do) that inspiration will spring from a cup of coffee, a muffin, a phone call, housework…’
      • ‘The restaurant's really good value for money - you can get a cup of coffee for only 85p!’
      • ‘Just drink several cups of good chrysanthemum tea.’
      • ‘Many students will be re-writing revision plans, displaying an inability to talk about anything else, drinking endless cups of coffee and suffering from a lack of sleep.’
      • ‘On this day, since I planned to not leave the house all day, I decided to indulge and drink two cups of coffee.’
      • ‘It is expected that the project will take about 6 to 8 weeks to complete and even if you can only go along for an odd session and a cup of coffee, you would be most welcome.’
      • ‘We still made it time but I think from tomorrow, we're going to be setting off a little bit later now the mornings are getting darker, so we'll have chance for a sit down with a cup of coffee and a slice of toast.’
      • ‘The next morning the kids sat in the coffee shop drinking steaming hot cups of coffee and hot chocolate.’
      • ‘I drank endless cups of coffee and cinnamon tea.’
      • ‘A cup of valerian tea an hour before going to bed can help to re-establish a normal sleep cycle, and is safe to take in conjunction with any prescribed medication.’
      • ‘The energy boost from a cup of coffee reverses afternoon slump, helping to keep you alert and temporarily improving performance, concentration and reaction time.’
    2. 1.2North American A measure of capacity used in cooking, equal to half a pint—that is, 8 ounces (0.237 l)
      ‘one cup of butter’
      • ‘But I don't think the diluted remnants of half a cup of diesel fuel in 12 gallons of gasoline will do any harm.’
      • ‘Robin added that 1/2 bucket of very hot water with a cup of vinegar not only cleans the floors well but is a winner with cleaning windows.’
      • ‘All it takes is 5 servings per day (a serving equals 1 slice of bread or half a cup of cooked grain).’
      • ‘Throwing a cup of bicarbonate of soda down a septic toilet each week will help to reduce acidity, and encourage the growth of waste-digesting bacteria.’
      • ‘In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, cinnamon and salt.’
      • ‘Then add one cup of freshly squeezed orange juice and half a cup of fresh lemon juice, and garnish with a few of the fresh herb leaves.’
      • ‘A dash serving is one cup of lettuce and half a cup of most other vegetables.’
      • ‘Substitute 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for basil.’
      • ‘Take a half of a cup of softened butter and mix in about 4 tablespoons of a fresh herb.’
      • ‘Half a cup of syrup (two tablespoons per serving) was all I needed in each of the dessert soups.’
      • ‘Begin with small quantities, such as half a cup of milk or an ounce of cheese.’
      • ‘Boil half a cup of water, add one teaspoon of honey and then fill up with milk.’
      • ‘He measured out a cup of detergent and threw it in with the clothes.’
      • ‘A cup of spinach is an excellent source of folate, which may help reduce your risk of heart attack.’
      • ‘Can you measure out a cup of rice for me, please, and leave it to soak in a bowl of water?’
      • ‘Briskly stir in 4 1/2 cups flour to make a soft dough.’
      • ‘He suggested one to two grams of dried thyme leaves (half to one teaspoon) in a cup of boiling water.’
      • ‘An entire meal would equal about one cup of food if measured together.’
      • ‘Eat about one-half cup of yogurt several times a day, especially when you take your protein.’
      • ‘Then in a separate bowl, you mix up 3 1/2 cups flour.’
    3. 1.3 (in church use) a chalice used at the Eucharist.
      • ‘Apparently, he thought it looked a lot like the cups we use at church for communion.’
      • ‘Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you.’
      • ‘If communion cups were a danger, he said, there would be cases of mass infections.’
      • ‘The cup was passed round and we joined together in the ritual, making us one through that same Christ.’
      • ‘The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not participation in the blood of Christ?…’
    4. 1.4cups One of the suits in a tarot pack.
      • ‘Last September, I started with the swords and I moved on to the wands, and then to the cups.’
      • ‘It was the later French adaptation which changed swords to spades, wands to clubs, cups to hearts, and coins to diamonds.’
  • 2An ornamental trophy in the form of a cup, usually made of gold or silver and having a stem and two handles, awarded as a prize in a contest.

    • ‘There were four overall prizes of cups, many trophies and certs for all the children.’
    • ‘He presented the cup, individual trophies and man of the match award.’
    • ‘Billy gives the silver cup to his older sisters and the gold cup to his younger sister, just as promised.’
    • ‘A catch-all clause forbidding the award of the cup to anyone wearing a white shirt would be more sincere.’
    • ‘There were three new cups and a trophy among the awards this year.’
    • ‘Sheep, dogs and vintage farm machinery will be displayed by their owners vying for the top prizes and the many cups and trophies on offer.’
    • ‘She was presented with a giant cup and gold medal at the end-of-season presentation at the weekend.’
    • ‘Everyone makes their way back to the campground and Billy is awarded the gold cup as well as three hundred dollars in prize money.’
    • ‘It was Hughes who organised a horse-race on Vasil'evskii Island in July 1792 with a silver cup as the prize.’
    • ‘But then he immediately displayed the cup in the trophy cabinet.’
    • ‘The winning team took the glittering gold cup and a cash prize.’
    • ‘I know they have won cups and trophies over the last few years, but if you ask any player in the squad, the one they would all love to win is the premiership.’
    • ‘All that was left on the street was the shattered remains of a small trophy cup, broken silver shards twinkling in the evening light.’
    • ‘A clean sweep of domestic cups and two European trophies should have been followed by a Premiership title.’
    • ‘So the red army had won the cup and their third silver trophy gleamed amongst the iridescent confetti and brilliant white floodlights.’
    • ‘Competitions were held for babies in different age groups and winners were presented silver cups and cash prizes.’
    • ‘She received a silver cup and sash as well as a gold world medal which secures her place for next year's world championships to be held in Killarney.’
    • ‘Almost all of the items are prize cups, souvenir objects and all kinds of sports medals, trophies and shields.’
    • ‘Ned is awarded yet another prize cup for chopping.’
    • ‘He tried to salvage a silver cup embellished with antique gold medallions but threw it back at gunpoint.’
    trophy, chalice
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A contest in which an ornamental trophy in the form of a cup is awarded.
      ‘playing in the Cup is the best thing ever’
      • ‘It was a one-sided competition back then; in fact, the British had lost 10 of the last 11 Cups.’
      • ‘They should have some rule whereby you can't play the same team in both Cups.’
      • ‘Newcastle have come from behind to win and the fans celebrate like they've won the European Cup.’
      • ‘Since the growth of the cup into one of sport's greatest and most watched contests, winning the venue is a valued and valuable prize.’
      • ‘In 1956, the first ever football European Cup was won in Paris by Real Madrid.’
      • ‘Canada went on to fall to Argentina 19-14 in the Cup quarterfinal match.’
      • ‘He will receive a specially designed engraved crystal award from the cup sponsors.’
      • ‘They made the European Cup last eight, but were sloppy at home to Valencia and let in a soft goal in Spain.’
      • ‘After the long and twisting road to the final there are only two teams left standing in the European Cup.’
      • ‘There is hope yet of a run in the European Cup, but it can only delay the inevitable.’
      • ‘His record of winning six championships and three European Cups in eight years at Liverpool is second to none.’
      • ‘That move has paid off handsomely this year and Liverpool have proved to be the team to beat in the Cups.’
      • ‘Your team has reached the semi finals of the Cup and it's your only chance of silverware this season.’
      • ‘There is a feeling around the city that, with relegation less of a worry, this could be our year in the Cup.’
      • ‘I would rather go out of the Cup than lose league points under certain circumstances.’
      • ‘Winning the European Cup is the big one, and for some the only one.’
      • ‘You go into the European Cup hoping to get challenges like we are going to get on Wednesday.’
      • ‘Winning back-to-back Cups is an amazing achievement of mental and physical stamina, as well as hockey skill.’
      • ‘The finalists in Europe's second - tier cup competition play a similar style.’
      • ‘The more immediate job is to win the Scottish Cup on Saturday.’
  • 3A cup-shaped thing.

    • ‘The cup is then lined with mud, fur, bark, grass, and paper.’
    • ‘Thanks to an elastic band that connects the shoe's tongue to the sidewalls and a heel cup with a notch for your Achilles tendon, the fit is superb.’
    • ‘This stalked crinoid lacks arms, has a disc-shaped aboral cup that is at least five times wider than high, and has the anal opening in the aboral cup.’
    • ‘We stand in silence watching more people join the line as others leave happily with their cones and cups blissed out, stressless, and not quite ready to go home.’
    • ‘The weighing cup protruded from the top of the box and was placed below the end of a blow tube from which mealworms could be dispensed.’
    • ‘Carefully separate lettuce leaves and trim with scissors to form neat cups.’
    • ‘The most commonly used prostheses are metal femoral components with plastic acetabular cups.’
    • ‘He pulled a pack of peanut butter cups from the plastic bag and set it down in front of the headstone.’
    • ‘She then described how they had little things like suction cups on their fingertips.’
    • ‘The periphery of the original blank must form the top circle of the cup.’
    • ‘Drape the phyllo circles over the prepared molds to form into cups.’
    • ‘A cup replaces the disc seen with an ophthalmoscope, the magnifying light for looking inside your eye.’
    • ‘They come in many varieties of two basic forms: the cup or ‘open’ bell, and the hollow sphere or crotal.’
    • ‘The first bit of fiddling involves bending the LED leads and fitting them into their little black housing cups which you have inserted into the holes in the faceplate.’
    • ‘Test the floor hardness in several spots with a diamond cup mounted on a small angle grinder.’
    • ‘When the nest framework was finished but some soft materials were still needed to line the nest cup, we performed the experiment.’
    • ‘Feeders that attach to a window with suction cups provide excitingly close encounters!’
    1. 3.1 Either of the two parts of a bra shaped to contain or support one breast.
      • ‘Using polymer sensors, the bra tightens and loosens its straps, or stiffens and relaxes its cups in response to the movements of the wearer.’
      • ‘Look for a wide band for support, uplifting underwire, and cups made of sturdy rather than sheer fabric.’
      • ‘He looked up in time to see Greta open her blouse and tuck the vial into the cup of her brassiere.’
      • ‘It pumps up your cleavage using two air bags inserted in the cups.’
      • ‘The cup seams can be cut out and used to sew over the poking underwire part.’
      • ‘Bigger cup sizes get a boost from halter necks which help support, while underwires lift and built-in cups define.’
      • ‘Your days of stuffing cups and settling for thingies that look like training bras are over.’
      • ‘I pick up another bra, lift my breasts into the cups, fasten the back and arrange the straps.’
      • ‘Try a bra with support and lift in the cups, as the back of your bra should be parallel to the front.’
      • ‘My right nipple is nearly horizontal and in line with the seam on my bra cup.’
      • ‘I've seen bras with an adjustable bit in the front between the cups, maybe something like that would help?’
      • ‘The most common problems were with the cups and underwires of the bra.’
      • ‘Exceptional support and fit are achieved from a new technique based on variable elasticity and a patented moulding system which allows the cups to give full support plus gentle fit.’
      • ‘The bra cups are covered with netting and the padding is patterned to look like a soccer ball.’
    2. 3.2 A jockstrap having a protective reinforcement of rigid plastic or metal.
      • ‘In the second round, there is a long delay when his protective cup comes undone.’
      • ‘They, in fact, may well be the only fans in professional sports that learn from an early age to wear a protective cup to games.’
      • ‘Five months later, a rematch saw both men dropped heavily and hurt badly, only for him to once again waste a sizable lead by targeting the other's protective cup.’
      • ‘But surprisingly few wear cups for sports, as I make my sons do for Little League and roller hockey.’
      • ‘His protective cup didn't fit right, even his trunks were too small.’
    3. 3.3 The hole on a putting green, or the metal container in it.
      • ‘Many golfers try to steer putts into the cup, especially when they can see the hole peripherally.’
      • ‘After sunshine and wind had baked the surface, several players watched their putts approach the cup but trickle far past the hole.’
      • ‘Practice narrowing your focus by hitting a tee that is stuck in the back of the cup directly on line with your ball.’
      • ‘It will slow down just prior to taking the break, then fall toward the hole and into the cup from the top side.’
      • ‘But the ball lipped out of the cup on the 18th hole, meaning the Englishman's six points for his closing round ensured victory.’
    4. 3.4Canadian A receptacle forming part of a liquidizer.
  • 4A mixed drink made from fruit juices and typically containing wine or cider.

    punch, drink, mixed drink
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Form (one's hand or hands) into the curved shape of a cup.

    ‘“Hey!” Dad shouted, with his hands cupped around his mouth’
    • ‘Take your measurements where your fingers curve back in, while your hands are naturally cupped.’
    • ‘Let your arms swing naturally and in rhythm with your legs and loosely cup your hands.’
    • ‘When she reached out for her change and turned to walk away, the shopkeeper held on to the gold coins between his thumb and forefinger and cupped a hand to his ear.’
    • ‘Next, cup your left hand around your mouth and direct the sound straight into your ear.’
    • ‘She leans forward, cups her hands around her empty glass.’
    • ‘He cups his hands to his mouth and shouts something back, but I cannot hear him.’
    • ‘His feet were slightly apart from each other and his left hand was cupped under his right hand.’
    • ‘I turned on the sink, cupped my hands under the faucet, and drank some of the water that was trapped in my hands.’
    • ‘He reached out with one long arm, cupped his hand behind her neck and pulled her to him.’
    • ‘Turning the tap of one of the sinks I cupped my hands and grabbed some water.’
    • ‘A shrill roar rumbled out from its mouth, and he cupped his hands over his ears to try to block it out.’
    • ‘Assured that her spine was undamaged and her limbs unbroken, he cupped his hand against her cheek.’
    • ‘Slowly she lifted the lighter to her mouth and then cupped her hands around it to block the wind.’
    • ‘Dustin, now panicking, kicked his legs and cupped his hands, and started to swim downstream.’
    • ‘Scrambling to his feet, he cupped his hands and shouted in the direction he thought the voice came from.’
    • ‘He stoops down, cups his right hand and scoops from the rainwater puddle and drinks.’
    • ‘I cupped my right hand over it and rolled the lavender between my palms.’
    • ‘I stopped, cupping my hand over my mouth and forcing back tears.’
    • ‘As she watched, he placed the end of the cigarette into his mouth and proceeded to light it, cupping his hand around the flame and the end of the stick.’
    • ‘Two set of feet trampled the house, and Virginia cupped a hand over her mouth, trying to silence her heavy breathing and inevitable sobs.’
    1. 1.1 Place the curved hand or hands around.
      ‘he cupped her face in his hands’
      • ‘Julia pushes a strand of blonde hair out of her daughter's face and cups it in her hands.’
      • ‘When walking through tight cover, the shooting hand can cup the trigger guard for extra safety.’
      • ‘And most folks will remember Fay Wray as the woman being cupped in King Kong's hand as she screamed for help.’
      • ‘Gently, Cameron lifted him up, cupping him in his hands.’
      • ‘This effect is accentuated if the glasses are cupped in human hands.’
      • ‘He has pressed herself against her side and he's slightly cupped in one of her thin hands.’
      • ‘She bent over and cupped the little girl's chin in her hand.’
      • ‘She cupped a warm glass of tea in her nimble fingers, as she watched the translucent wave of of mist roll over the English country side.’
      • ‘The dive leader cupped him under the belly and tickled him on the chin.’
      • ‘While floating along and staring up at the pinkish rock walls, it suddenly seems as if the canyon has reached out and cupped me lightly in the palm of its hand.’
      • ‘She cupped the glass of sparkling apple cider between her palms as she stared at John in amazement.’
      • ‘Beneath the sheets, she cupped me and gave me a playful squeeze.’
  • 2Medicine
    historical Bleed (someone) by using a glass in which a partial vacuum is formed by heating.

    ‘Dr. Ross ordered me to be cupped’
    • ‘Predictably, leeches, cupping, and blood letting take the centre stage of treatments.’
    • ‘Among the ancient cultures, epilepsy was considered due to possession by spirits and gods and treated by trephening, cupping, and herbal and animal extracts.’
    • ‘They carried out procedures we now rate as complementary or alternative as well as some off the wall procedures (all of which are now back in use!) such as cupping, bleeding, the use of maggots and leeches.’

Phrases

  • in one's cups

    • informal Drunk.

      • ‘And I'm not sure I haven't done that, when in my cups.’
      • ‘Later still, when you're neck-deep in your cups, your keen psychic antenna will fully sprout and you'll begin to detect thinly-veiled insolence and secret meanings in nearly everything they say or do.’
      • ‘Last night, in my cups, I remembered the most embarrassing part of my secret teenage past: I used to perform in amateur productions of musicals.’
      • ‘Till the day he left, and no doubt still among the old guys in their cups, the Railway boss was known to all as ‘Call-me-Dave’.’
      • ‘As deep in his cups as he is, the Professor knows he will be clear-headed in the morning.’
      • ‘And I don't suppose - much as I admit to being overfond of myself and much as I am wont to declaim while in my cups in a way that would lead you to think that my problems are unique in this world - that I'm alone in this.’
      • ‘Plato argued that drink could be a good test of a man's character, and ancient biographers were fascinated by the drinking habits of their subjects, believing that their true nature was revealed in their cups.’
      • ‘It sounds like a question for law students in their cups, but it actually entered a federal courtroom earlier this year.’
      • ‘But this particular night, at the school dance, he was in his cups - half a mickey of gin, to be exact, trying to repair his relationship with the wonderful woman who would soon become his wife and the mother of his three children.’
      • ‘After throwing back many pints, they wake up the next morning and find that while in their cups, they seem to have gotten hitched.’
      intoxicated, inebriated, drunken, befuddled, incapable, tipsy, the worse for drink, under the influence, maudlin
      View synonyms
  • not one's cup of tea

    • informal Not what one likes or is interested in.

      ‘cats were not her cup of tea’
      • ‘There's a certain arrogance and authority embedded in it that's necessary for the style, but it's not my cup of tea.’
      • ‘And if running, dodging and shooting was not your cup of tea, there were car and motorcycle rallies, with dirt tracks and the grand prix.’
      • ‘‘I've been a couple of times before and it's just not my cup of tea,’ he admits.’
      • ‘Free verse can be wonderful - but it's just not our cup of tea.’
      • ‘A journalistic approach to fiction is not my cup of tea.’
      • ‘It's been very frustrating and it's not my cup of tea.’
      • ‘If sitting and listening is not your cup of tea, sightseeing in a drift boat makes for an interesting alternative.’
      • ‘It's not my cup of tea, but these guys are incredibly tight.’
      • ‘If this is not your cup of tea or if you only have a few items for sale then, of course, they will take your items to their auction rooms, where they will be sold on your behalf.’
      • ‘That's not my cup of tea, but it gets the point across.’

Origin

Old English: from popular Latin cuppa, probably from Latin cupa ‘tub’.

Pronunciation

cup

/kəp//kəp/