• synonyms


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verb (used with object), soused, sous·ing.
  1. to plunge into water or other liquid; immerse.
  2. to drench, as with water.
  3. to dash or pour, as water.
  4. to steep in pickling brine; pickle.
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verb (used without object), soused, sous·ing.
  1. to plunge into water or other liquid.
  2. to be soaked or drenched.
  3. to be steeping or soaking in something.
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  1. an act of sousing.
  2. something kept or steeped in pickle, especially the head, ears, and feet of a pig.
  3. a liquid used as a pickle.
  4. Slang. a drunkard.
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Origin of souse1

1350–1400; 1915–20 for def 11; (noun) Middle English sows < Middle French souce pickled < Germanic (akin to salt1); (v.) Middle English sousen, derivative of the noun


See more synonyms for souse on Thesaurus.com
2. soak, wet.


verb (used without object), soused, sous·ing.
  1. to swoop down.
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verb (used with object), soused, sous·ing.
  1. to swoop or pounce upon.
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noun Falconry.
  1. a rising while in flight.
  2. a swooping or pouncing.
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Origin of souse2

1480–90; by-form of source in its earlier literal sense “rising”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for souse

Historical Examples

  • "Let us put out his lantern and souse him in the river," said Dick, with a laugh.

    The Liberty Boys Running the Blockade

    Harry Moore

  • Souse a Bishop in his bath before you let him warm his chair; cry 'Fire!'

    Little Novels of Italy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • Willis catches the sheep and pitches them in; and his father and Ben souse them.

    When Life Was Young

    C. A. Stephens

  • Let me catch you at it again, and I'll souse you in the river next time.

    Little Men

    Louisa May Alcott

  • He smelt warmth, rest, and there was the promise in his mind of a good "souse."

    The Heart of Unaga

    Ridgwell Cullum

British Dictionary definitions for souse


  1. to plunge (something, oneself, etc) into water or other liquid
  2. to drench or be drenched
  3. (tr) to pour or dash (liquid) over (a person or thing)
  4. to steep or cook (food) in a marinade
  5. (tr; usually passive) slang to make drunk
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  1. the liquid or brine used in pickling
  2. the act or process of sousing
  3. slang a habitual drunkard
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French sous, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German sulza brine


verb (intr)
  1. (often foll by on or upon) to swoop suddenly downwards (on a prey)
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  1. a sudden downward swoop
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Word Origin

C16: perhaps a variant of obsolete vb sense of source
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 souse


late 14c., "to pickle, steep in vinegar," from Old French sous (adj.) "preserved in salt and vinegar," from Frankish *sultja or some other Germanic source (cf. Old Saxon sultia "salt water," Old High German sulza "brine"), from Proto-Germanic *salt- (see salt (n.)). Related: Soused; sousing.

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something steeped in pickle, especially "pig parts preserved and pickled," mid-15c., earlier "liquid for pickling" (late 14c.), from souse (v.) or from its French source.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper