Definition of sauce in US English:



  • 1Thick liquid served with food, usually savory dishes, to add moistness and flavor.

    ‘tomato sauce’
    ‘the cubes can be added to soups and sauces’
    • ‘Avoid foods swimming in cream-based sauces and fried or cooked in butter.’
    • ‘Canned soups and sauces, salad dressings, ice cream and some processed meats and cheeses may contain wheat-based thickeners, fillers and stabilizers.’
    • ‘When using sticky sauces, cook the food first and wait to apply the sauce at the very end.’
    • ‘Flavored vinegars and oils add an extra kick to marinades, sauces, and dressings.’
    • ‘Use plain, unsweetened soymilk in soups, sauces, gravies, casseroles and quickbreads.’
    • ‘The organic farmers and food processors who supply ingredients for his hot sauces and salad dressings generally share his commitment to high-quality, eco-friendly food.’
    • ‘Chopped raw garlic lends an assertive flavor to vinaigrettes, salsas, and other sauces such as aioli.’
    • ‘It takes about 20 minutes to cook on the griddle, arrives piping hot, and is covered in a tasty Japanese sauce I haven't been able to duplicate at home.’
    • ‘I noticed that Jimmy, once again, had some pizza sauce on his cheek.’
    • ‘But generally speaking, any sauces you make should complement other ingredients rather than overwhelm them.’
    • ‘After adding Italian seasoning, I have homemade spaghetti sauce containing at least two servings of vegetables.’
    • ‘A short stroll through the aisles of the average food hall reveals a bewildering variety of mustards, relishes, sauces, pickles and assorted creams, pastes, chutneys, jellies and condiments from all over the world.’
    • ‘Moisten foods with sauces or gravies to make them easier to swallow.’
    • ‘No longer could the shortcomings of a meal be disguised with sauces: nouvelle cuisine required wonderfully fresh ingredients and a great deal of culinary skill.’
    • ‘He has orange all round his lips and somehow he managed to get a dollop of sauce on his cheek.’
    • ‘Using an assortment of mushrooms gives this classic sauce a deep, woodsy flavor.’
    • ‘It us used as a thickener in ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, cheese, low-fat salad dressings, ketchup, sauces and many other food products.’
    • ‘Replace cream sauces with tropical salsas; add raisins and apricots to stuffings and rice; grill peach and nectarine slices brushed with rum.’
    • ‘Most sauces, including ngunja, are thickened with peanut butter, which gives them added protein and flavor.’
    • ‘Use sweet basil in your pesto and tomato sauces.’
    relish, dressing, condiment, ketchup, flavouring
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American Stewed fruit, especially apples, eaten as dessert or used as a garnish.
      • ‘Try making your own apple sauce and pear sauce; don't add any sugar, as these fruits are sweet enough on their own.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, you do know how to make delicious homemade cranberry sauce, don't you?’
  • 2the sauceinformal Alcoholic drink.

    ‘she's been on the sauce for years’
    • ‘He'd self-destructed with an alcohol problem, he explained, and had turned out a number of turkeys while on the sauce.’
    alcohol, liquor, alcoholic drink, strong drink, intoxicating drink, spirits
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  • 3British informal Impertinence.

    impudence, impertinence, cheek, cheekiness, effrontery, irreverence, sauciness, pertness, freshness, flippancy, insolence, rudeness, disrespect, disrespectfulness, familiarity, presumption, presumptuousness, audacity, audaciousness, boldness, brazenness, forwardness, cockiness, shamelessness
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • 1usually be saucedProvide a sauce for (something); season with a sauce.

    • ‘The pan-seared mahi-mahi was placed on a bed of endive and topped with the bananas, then was sauced with the orange citrus sauce and garnished with crushed macadamia nuts and cucumber sticks.’
    • ‘An unusually light tete de veau is sauced with an unusually well-gauged sauce greibish - a standard dish, of course, but rendered with expertise.’
    • ‘Crunchy, pale, looking like a cross between retractable antennae and geometric Aztec art, they're sauced with chili oil, ginger, garlic, and fresh slices of scallion, and have all the crunchy appeal of summertime picnic food.’
    • ‘Succulent, ruby-red interior herb-marinated and grilled lamb chops - a recent special - are barely sauced at all.’
    • ‘So he seared the fish lightly, sauced it, and returned it to her.’
    • ‘A roast sweetbread was sauced with a Madeira and truffle mix of improbable delicacy.’
    • ‘Both berkukes and kuskusu may be steamed over water rather than stew, in which case they are usually sauced with milk or yoghurt.’
    • ‘For a midweek meal, you could speed things up by searing the beef rolls until cooked, then saucing them with a simple tomato salsa.’
    • ‘Early the next morning, the dough is sauced, cheese is added, and it is baked for 15 to 20 minutes at 430 degrees in a revolving shelf oven.’
    • ‘Finally, we tried the Chicken Kushiyaki, tender chunks of chicken skewered, sauced in teriyaki and grilled.’
    • ‘Add enough garlic cream to flavour the mash, remembering to keep some back for saucing at the end.’
    1. 1.1 Make more interesting and exciting.
  • 2informal Be rude or impudent to (someone).


Middle English: from Old French, based on Latin salsus ‘salted’, past participle of salere ‘to salt’, from sal ‘salt’. Compare with salad.