secret sauce


: a sauce that adds an important element to a dish and that has ingredients which are typically kept secret
A frank of beef, pork, and veal … is split lengthwise, coated with secret sauce, and cooked on a grill.Jane and Michael Stern

called also special sauce

: an element, quality, ability, or practice that makes something or someone successful or distinctive
If leadership has a secret sauce, it may well be humility. A humble boss understands that there are things he doesn't know.The Economist

called also special sauce

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The beloved Big Mac sauce, often referred to as Mac sauce, special sauce or secret sauce, tastes similarly to thousand island. Sabrina Weiss, Peoplemag, 19 Apr. 2023 That seems to be Oregon State’s secret sauce. oregonlive, 6 Jan. 2023 The alcohol in this product is the secret sauce. Carolyn Forté, Good Housekeeping, 14 Oct. 2022 But if Quinn is in possession of the secret sauce, why did his last three Falcons teams finish 19th, 20th and 27th in takeaways? Dallas News, 4 Aug. 2022 The difficulty is kind of like the secret sauce. Los Angeles Times, 14 July 2022 The secret sauce? Michael O'sullivan, Anchorage Daily News, 6 May 2022 Davis' secret sauce? Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 3 Apr. 2022 His approach seems counterintuitive, but Maginnis explains the secret sauce to his success with his easy-to-follow daily guidelines. Alexa Mikhail, Fortune Well, 5 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'secret sauce.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1906, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of secret sauce was in 1906

Dictionary Entries Near secret sauce

Cite this Entry

“Secret sauce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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