a thick soup or stew made of clams, fish, or vegetables, with potatoes, onions, and other ingredients and seasonings.

Origin of chowder

1735–45, Americanism; < French chaudière pot, kettle < Late Latin caldāria cauldron Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chowder

Contemporary Examples of chowder

  • I was about to play touch football with John-John and I could almost smell the chowder.

    The Daily Beast logo
    My Man Crush on JFK, Jr.

    Mark Katz

    July 16, 2009

Historical Examples of chowder

  • Chowder may be made of clams, first cutting off the hard part.

  • Shall we go to see the camp or shall we have our chowder and luncheon first and then go?


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Now we'll call that chowder done for the second time, I guess.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • She gave her note to the little captain when he came with the chowder.

    Glory of Youth

    Temple Bailey

  • The oysters in the chowder were small, but had been taken from the water that morning.

    Down South

    Oliver Optic

British Dictionary definitions for chowder



a thick soup or stew containing clams or fish

Word Origin for chowder

C18: from French chaudière kettle, from Late Latin caldāria; see cauldron
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 chowder

1751, American English, apparently named for the pot it was cooked in: French chaudière "a pot" (12c.), from Late Latin caldaria (see caldron). The word and the practice introduced in Newfoundland by Breton fishermen, and spreading thence to New England.

CHOWDER. A favorite dish in New England, made of fish, pork, onions, and biscuit stewed together. Cider and champagne are sometimes added. Pic-nic parties to the sea-shore generally have a dish of chowder, prepared by themselves in some grove near the beach, from fish caught at the same time. [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1859]

The derogatory chowderhead (1819) is a corruption of cholter-head (16c.), from jolthead, of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper