[bool-yuh-beys, bool-yuh-beys; French boo-ya-bes]


a soup or stew containing several kinds of fish and often shellfish, usually combined with olive oil, tomatoes, and saffron.

Origin of bouillabaisse

1850–55; < French < Provençal boui-abaisso, taken as either “boil it, then lower the heat,” or “when it boils, lower the heat”; boui 2nd singular imperative or 3rd singular present of bouie to boil1; abaisso 2nd singular imperative of abaissa to lower; see abase Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bouillabaisse

Contemporary Examples of bouillabaisse

Historical Examples of bouillabaisse

  • It was half-past seven already, the bouillabaisse could not wait.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • The better, finer and firmer the fish, the better the Bouillabaisse.

  • Pascal's is famous for its fish, and especially for its bouillabaisse.

    The Car That Went Abroad

    Albert Bigelow Paine

  • It is all served together like bouillabaisse, the semolina answering to the bread, and extract of pomidoro is added.


    Henry Festing Jones

  • Though this petit djeuner was very recherch, the bouillabaisse threw all the accessory dishes into the shade.

British Dictionary definitions for bouillabaisse



a rich stew or soup of fish and vegetables flavoured with spices, esp saffron

Word Origin for bouillabaisse

C19: from French, from Provençal bouiabaisso, literally: boil down
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bouillabaisse

fish stew, 1845, from French bouillabaisse (19c.), from Provençal bouiabaisso, boulh-abaisso, a compound of two verbs corresponding to English boil-abase (the latter in the original sense of "to lower").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper