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’
    • ‘Chopped raw garlic lends an assertive flavor to vinaigrettes, salsas, and other sauces such as aioli.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Canned soups and sauces, salad dressings, ice cream and some processed meats and cheeses may contain wheat-based thickeners, fillers and stabilizers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Replace cream sauces with tropical salsas; add raisins and apricots to stuffings and rice; grill peach and nectarine slices brushed with rum.’
    • ‘I noticed that Jimmy, once again, had some pizza sauce on his cheek.’
    • ‘Flavored vinegars and oils add an extra kick to marinades, sauces, and dressings.’
    • ‘Use plain, unsweetened soymilk in soups, sauces, gravies, casseroles and quickbreads.’
    • ‘But generally speaking, any sauces you make should complement other ingredients rather than overwhelm them.’
    • ‘Avoid foods swimming in cream-based sauces and fried or cooked in butter.’
    • ‘He has orange all round his lips and somehow he managed to get a dollop of sauce on his cheek.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When using sticky sauces, cook the food first and wait to apply the sauce at the very end.’
    • ‘Use sweet basil in your pesto and tomato sauces.’
    • ‘After adding Italian seasoning, I have homemade spaghetti sauce containing at least two servings of vegetables.’
    • ‘It us used as a thickener in ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, cheese, low-fat salad dressings, ketchup, sauces and many other food products.’
    • ‘Most sauces, including ngunja, are thickened with peanut butter, which gives them added protein and flavor.’
    • ‘Moisten foods with sauces or gravies to make them easier to swallow.’
    • ‘Using an assortment of mushrooms gives this classic sauce a deep, woodsy flavor.’
    relish, dressing, condiment, ketchup, flavouring
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    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
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[with object]
  • 1usually be saucedProvide a sauce for (something); season with a sauce.

    • ‘For a midweek meal, you could speed things up by searing the beef rolls until cooked, then saucing them with a simple tomato salsa.’
    • ‘Succulent, ruby-red interior herb-marinated and grilled lamb chops - a recent special - are barely sauced at all.’
    • ‘A roast sweetbread was sauced with a Madeira and truffle mix of improbable delicacy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Both berkukes and kuskusu may be steamed over water rather than stew, in which case they are usually sauced with milk or yoghurt.’
    • ‘Finally, we tried the Chicken Kushiyaki, tender chunks of chicken skewered, sauced in teriyaki and grilled.’
    • ‘So he seared the fish lightly, sauced it, and returned it to her.’
    • ‘Add enough garlic cream to flavour the mash, remembering to keep some back for saucing at the end.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An unusually light tete de veau is sauced with an unusually well-gauged sauce greibish - a standard dish, of course, but rendered with expertise.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.