\ 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


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

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Other Words from cup


cuplike \ ˈkəp-​ˌlīk How to pronounce cuplike (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 Hanging out on the fenced-in patio, visiting with old friends and making new ones while drinking a Nicodemus or two out of a Styrofoam cup was, and still is, part of the charm of a night at Nick’s. Bob Carlton |, al, "An Alabama tradition lives on at Nick’s in the Sticks," 27 Nov. 2019 Combine apple, onion and orange in a small bowl with 1 cup of water and microwave 5 minutes. Anna Thomas Bates, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Roast a turkey or dare to try another holiday bird this Thanksgiving," 21 Nov. 2019 City are the current holders of both of England’s domestic cups and are looking for a first WSL title since 2016, having seen both Chelsea and Arsenal win it in recent seasons., "Man City Knocked Out of Women's Champions League by Atletico Madrid for Second Year in a Row," 31 Oct. 2019 When completed, customers can walk from the butcher shop into the coffee-shop diner to the bakery and then a lounge to relax with a cup of coffee. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Edwins bakery-diner coming soon to Buckeye neighborhood," 23 Oct. 2019 The company’s 38 employees sell the rough equivalent of 150,000 cups of coffee a week. Los Angeles Times, "This Pasadena roaster sells coffee that lures even Starbucks," 11 Oct. 2019 Police found two bottles of vodka — Tito's and Absolut — both about two-thirds empty behind the driver's seat along with a small cup that smelled of alcohol., "Violent traffic stop cited in ex-MSP official's lawsuit. We have the video.," 3 Oct. 2019 The first morning in the ward, I was woken up by a nurse standing over me with a small cup of pills. Sam Dylan Finch, Teen Vogue, "Doctors Using a Transgender Patient's Correct Pronouns Is a Life-or-Death Matter," 27 Sep. 2019 The two-ingredient goodies are rolled in coconut flour (no added sugar or preservatives), and one third of a cup provides 11% of the daily fiber goal, 6% for potassium, and 4% for iron. Cynthia Sass, Mph,, "5 Trader Joe's New Products to Try This Fall," 17 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Repeat with ½ cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup Epsom salt and ½ cup citric acid. Kris Coronado, Washington Post, "’Tis the season for homemade gifts. Try making bath bombs.," 26 Nov. 2019 Weighing less than a pound and a half, tiny enough to fit into Bard’s cupped hands, Sadie was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "How One Employer Stuck a New Mom With a $898,984 Bill for Her Premature Baby," 4 Nov. 2019 Illuminating the drinks with a palm-cupped flashlight, our barkeep showcased the louche, that mystical emulsification, as cold water found the glass, each drop a glinting flash that slowly turned the clear beverage translucent. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Absinthe, a fabled spirit with its own fairy story," 28 Oct. 2019 The midfielder cupped his ear and told the fans to 'f*** off', taking his shirt off and storming down the tunnel., "Liverpool vs Arsenal Preview: Where To Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 28 Oct. 2019 Soft-spoken, Vars sipped water from his kids’ Angry Birds cup. Katherine Webb-hehn, al, "Proposed waiting period for firearms aims to save lives of suicidal Alabamians," 15 Sep. 2019 Sterling later cupped his ears to the crowd in protest when celebrating England’s fifth goal., "England Players Will Discuss Walking Off the Pitch if Racist Abuse Occurs in Bulgaria," 12 Sep. 2019 Others accused him of making cupping gestures with his hands, suggestive of female breasts, the Independent newspaper reported. Ceylan Yeginsu, New York Times, "Fighting Back Tears, Winston Churchill’s Grandson Exits Politics and Chides Boris Johnson," 4 Sep. 2019 One by one, the player will test out each ball—perhaps by bouncing it off the floor or on the racket, or cupping it in their hands. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Why do male tennis players at the US Open reject balls more often than the women do?," 2 Sep. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cup

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Cup.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for cup


How to pronounce cup (audio)

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
US : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cup

Spanish Central: Translation of cup

Nglish: Translation of cup for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on cup

What made you want to look up cup? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very cautious or careful

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