Difference between Ketchup and Catsup

Ketchup vs. Catsup

What is Difference between Ketchup and Catsup? In today’s world, ketchup and ketchup both refer to the spicy version of tomato sauce mixed with vinegar that is available around the world and is a popular accompaniment to snacks and fast food such as chips, hamburgers and pizzas. As such, there is no difference and there are only two ways to pronounce the word while the pronunciation is very similar between the two words.


Difference between Ketchup and Catsup

The etymologists mention that both words are taken from the Malay word “kechap” or “kecap”. While the anglication of the Malay word, it is assumed that the origins of the Malay word come from the Cantonese dialect.

People are surprised to know that the original “kechap” does not carry tomatoes, in fact it was a condiment made of fish and other species. The Malaysian version of kechap has sweet soy sauce to make it tastier.

The western version of the word “kechap” appeared in the early 1960s and was called “catchup” from which the word “catsup” originated. This fact is based on an entry made in the Canting Crew dictionary in the year 1960. References have been made to the words “Kechap” Malay and the western version of the word “Ketchup” this in the book “An account of trade in India “by Charles Lockyear in the year 1711.

It is also said that the first recipe in which the ketchup appeared was in the book “The Complete Housewife” by Elizabeth Smith in the year 1727. For people who can get a copy of this recipe and read it, surely they will experience some type of anticlimax since the recipe contains shallots, anchovies, white wine, species like ginger, vinegar, lemon zest and pepper, but without tomatoes! It took the world two decades to introduce tomatoes as the base of ketchup. Until then, most ketchup or ketchup recipes were based on mushrooms.

Reference to the word “catsup” was made in the middle of the 19th century as evidence of a story in the Scribner magazine of 19859 that mentioned “mushroom catch-up”. The mention of the modified version of the word “catchup” “catsup” seems to be mentioned by Jonathan Swift in the year of 1730.

While most of the world’s manufacturers and consumers use the word ketchup there are also people who use the other variants: ketchup, ketchup, katsup. There are still recipes in circulation where ketchup is used where tomato is not the basis of it, such as apple ketchup and spicy ketchup.

In Summary:

  • Both words are western versions of the Malay word “kechap” which seems to have been taken from a Cantonese dialect.
  • While both words originated at the same time, it seems that catchup originated earlier than ketchup.
  • Although catsup is still used, the most popular version in the world is the word ketchup.
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