\ ˈkəp How to pronounce cup (audio) \

Definition of cup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an open usually bowl-shaped drinking vessel
2a : a drinking vessel and its contents
b : the consecrated wine of the Communion
3 : something that falls to one's lot
4 : an ornamental cup offered as a prize (as in a championship)
5 : something resembling a cup: such as
a : a cup-shaped plant organ
b : an athletic supporter reinforced usually with plastic to provide extra protection to the wearer
c : either of two parts of a brassiere that are shaped like and fit over the breasts
d : the metal case inside a hole in golf also : the hole itself
6 : a usually iced beverage resembling punch but served from a pitcher rather than a bowl
7 : a half pint : eight fluid ounces
8 : a food served in a cup-shaped usually footed vessel a fruit cup
9 : the symbol ∪ indicating the union of two sets — compare cap sense 7
in one's cups
: drunk


cupped; cupping

Definition of cup (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to treat by cupping
2a : to curve into the shape of a cup cupped his hands around his mouth
b : to place in or as if in a cup

Other Words from cup


cuplike \ ˈkəp-​ˌlīk How to pronounce cup (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for cup

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of cup in a Sentence

Noun Would you like another cup of tea? The winner will take home the cup. Verb He cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted at us. I had to cup my hand to my ear in order to hear him. He cupped his mouth with his hands and shouted at us. I sat with my chin cupped in my hand.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Soak with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of a mild, colorless liquid detergent to each cup of lukewarm water. Washington Post, 14 Dec. 2021 That suction action can be created by pumping air out or by applying a flame to the cup before placing it on the skin, according to the NCCIH. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 8 Dec. 2021 Most passengers would have no idea so much work went into changing to a paper cup. Alex Stone, ABC News, 6 Dec. 2021 Casey's: Military service members, active or inactive, are welcome to a free cup of coffee. Dave Quinn,, 11 Nov. 2021 Add a few tablespoons of water to the cup of the bromeliad, near the base of the plant, and fill it occasionally. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 8 Nov. 2021 With the features of a convenience store, grocery store and restaurant, Leo’s sells fresh produce, bread, cheese and fresh-ground bean-to-cup coffee. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Oct. 2021 As for how much coffee to use, start with about 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds to every cup of water for and adjust from there. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 20 Sep. 2021 This backless and strapless adhesive bra ingeniously offers coverage and cleavage control, and goes up to a G cup. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Headphone Table, imagined in 1978 and recreated in 2017, invites visitors to sit and cup their hands to their ears, with elbows on the table, to hear—or be part of—a humming that rumbles through the heavy table. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Oct. 2021 Working with one piece at a time, cup your hand over the dough, keeping the sides of your palm on the work surface. Janelle Bitker, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Mar. 2021 My hands grip his unruly brown hair, his hands cup my face. Anastasia Garcia, Glamour, 11 Mar. 2021 After all, these sneaky chemicals can infiltrate foods and beverages at any point in their journey from farm to fork or from manufacturing plant to cup or bottle. Washington Post, 5 Mar. 2021 Strike your match and immediately cup it in your hands to protect it from rain and wind. Jim Baird, Field & Stream, 1 Oct. 2020 Rodgers won't need to cup his hands over his helmet in order to hear play calls from the sideline. Star Tribune, 7 Sep. 2020 As birds cup their wings and put their feet down, make excited clucks. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, 11 Aug. 2020 Great pizzerias must nail the classics and this one came loaded with a mountain of delectable slices on top of the pie, that true to its name, cupped those spicy meat juices. Chuck Blount,, 15 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cup.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cup


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cup


Middle English cuppe, from Old English, from Late Latin cuppa cup, alteration of Latin cupa tub — more at hive

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Time Traveler for cup

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The first known use of cup was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for cup



English Language Learners Definition of cup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small round container that often has a handle and that is used for drinking liquids (such as tea and coffee)
: the liquid that is contained in a cup
: a unit of measurement that is used when you are cooking



English Language Learners Definition of cup (Entry 2 of 2)

: to curve (your hand) into the shape of a cup
: to put your hand in a curved shape around (something)


\ ˈkəp How to pronounce cup (audio) \

Kids Definition of cup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a container to drink out of in the shape of a small bowl usually with a handle
2 : the contents of a small drinking container : cupful I drank a cup of tea.
3 : a unit of measure that equals half a pint or eight fluid ounces
4 : a trophy in the shape of a cup with two handles
5 : something like a small bowl in shape or use I picked her up in the cup of my hands …— Jean Craighead George, My Side of the Mountain


cupped; cupping

Kids Definition of cup (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to curve the hand or hands into the shape of a small bowl
2 : to put the hands in a curved shape around She cupped my face.


\ ˈkəp How to pronounce cup (audio) \

Medical Definition of cup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually open bowl-shaped drinking vessel often having a handle and a stem and base and sometimes a lid
2 : a drinking vessel and its contents : the beverage or food contained in a cup a second cup of coffee
3 : something resembling a cup invagination of the blastula to form a multilayered cellular cup : as
a(1) : an athletic supporter reinforced for providing extra protection to the wearer in certain strenuous sports (as boxing, hockey, or football)
(2) : either of the two parts of a brassiere that are shaped like and fit over the breasts
b : a small bell-shaped glass formerly used in cupping
c : a cap of metal or plastic shaped like the femoral head and used in plastic reconstruction of the hip joint


cupped; cupping

Medical Definition of cup (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to treat by cupping

intransitive verb

: to undergo or perform cupping

More from Merriam-Webster on cup

Nglish: Translation of cup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cup for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cup


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