soup·​çon süp-ˈsōⁿ How to pronounce soupçon (audio)
: a little bit : trace
a soupçon of suspicion

Did you know?

Culinary enthusiasts may think "soupçon" originated with a dash of garlic in the coq au vin or a splash of vanilla in the crème anglaise, but the etymology of the word has more to do with inklings and suspicions than with food. Sometime in the 18th century, English speakers borrowed "soupçon" from the French, who were using the word to mean "drop," "touch," or "suspicion." The Old French form of the word was "sospeçon," which in turn comes from the Latin forms suspection- and suspectio. Etymologists have further traced the word's Latin ancestry to the verb suspicere, meaning "to suspect." "Suspicere," as you might expect, is also the source of the English words "suspect" and "suspicion."

Examples of soupçon in a Sentence

Add just a soupçon of salt. the book is filled with cynicism and sarcasm, along with a soupçon of existentialist angst
Recent Examples on the Web Runway Zero in all this is, very likely, The Phantom Thread from 2017—even if Daniel Day Lewis’s fictional twisted genius borrowed soupcons of a few different real-life designers to make up his Reynolds Woodcock character. Mark Holgate, Vogue, 27 Jan. 2024 Clearly, there’s more than a soupcon of autobiography mixed into this novel. Washington Post, 3 May 2022 Winemaker Ben Jordan tweaks the blend to suit each vintage — for the 2020, a soupcon each of chardonnay and pinot gris round out the wine. Washington Post, 27 Jan. 2022 The budget plan contains a few soupcons of intrigue as well: Patrick May, The Mercury News, 24 May 2017 David Mallamud’s score (with lyrics by Dawkins) is a pastiche of styles and musical-theater in-jokes — a little music hall, a little Kander-and-Ebb with a soupcon of Mozart for the especially quick-eared. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, 12 Feb. 2017

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

Word History


French, literally, suspicion, from Old French sospeçon, from Latin suspection-, suspectio, from Latin suspicere to suspect — more at suspect

First Known Use

1766, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of soupçon was in 1766


Dictionary Entries Near soupçon

Cite this Entry

“Soupçon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

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