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From Middle English sodden, soden, from Old English soden, ġesoden, from Proto-Germanic *sudanaz, past participle of Proto-Germanic *seuþaną (to seethe; boil). Cognate with West Frisian sean, Dutch gezoden (seethed, boiled) (related to Dutch zode (swampy land)), Low German saden, söddt, German gesotten, Swedish sjuden, Icelandic soðinn. More at seethe.



sodden (comparative more sodden, superlative most sodden)

  1. Soaked or drenched with liquid; soggy, saturated.
    • 1810, James Millar, editor, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 4th edition, volume XII, page 702:
      It is found, indeed, that meat, roaſted by a fire of peat or turf, is more ſodden than when coal is employed for that purpoſe.
    • 1895 February, James Rodway, “Nature's Triumph”, in The Popular Science Monthly, page 460:
      The outfalls are choked, the dams are perforated by crabs or broken down by floods, and soon the ground becomes more and more sodden.
    • 2014, Paul Salopek, Blessed. Cursed. Claimed., National Geographic (December 2014)[1]
      A miraculous desert rain. We slog, dripping, into As Safi, Jordan. We drive the sodden mules through wet streets. To the town’s only landmark. To the “Museum at the Lowest Place on Earth.”
    • 2020 August 26, Andrew Mourant, “Reinforced against future flooding”, in Rail, page 61:
      In 2004, after heavy rain fell on sodden ground, floods put the line out of action from February until May.
  2. (archaic) Boiled.
    • c. 1569, Bartolomej Georgijević, “The diuersities of their drinke”, in Hugh Gough, transl., The Ofspring of the House of Ottomanno and Officers Pertaining to the Greate Turkes Court[2], London: Thomas Marshe:
      The thirde [drynke] is of that kinde of hony named Pechmes, whiche is made of newe wine sodden, vntill the third parte be boyled awaye []
    • 1596, Richard Johnson, chapter 14, in The Most Famous History of the Seaven Champions of Christendome[3], London: Cuthbert Burbie, page 131:
      [] howe Almidor the blacke King of Moroco was sodden to death in a cauldrone of boyling leade and brimstone.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, 1 Samuel 2:13–15:
      And the priests custome with the people was, that when any man offred sacrifice, the priestes seruant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhooke of three teeth in his hand, And he strooke it into the panne, or kettle, or caldron, or pot: all that the flesh-hooke brought vp, the priest tooke for himselfe: so they did in Shiloh vnto all the Israelites that came thither. Also before they burnt the fat, the priests seruant came, & said to the man that sacrificed, Giue flesh to roste for the priest, for he wil not haue sodden flesh of thee, but raw.
  3. (figuratively) Drunk; stupid as a result of drunkenness.
    • 1595, George Peele, The Old Wives’ Tale, The Malone Society Reprints, 1908, line 560,[4]
      You whoreson sodden headed sheepes-face []
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i]:
      [] thou sodden-witted lord! thou hast no
      more brain than I have in mine elbows []
    • 1855 December – 1857 June, Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1857, →OCLC:
      With this profession of faith, the doctor, who was an old jail-bird, and was more sodden than usual, and had the additional and unusual stimulus of money in his pocket, returned to his associate and chum in hoarseness, puffiness, redfacedness, all-fours, tobacco, dirt, and brandy.
    • 2010, Peter Hitchens, The Cameron Delusion, page 79:
      I would have done too, but alcohol makes me so ill that I couldn't (I mention this to make it clear that I don't claim any moral superiority over my more sodden colleagues).
  4. (figuratively) Dull, expressionless (of a person’s appearance).
    • 1613, Francis Beaumont, The Knight of the Burning Pestle[5], London: Walter Burre, act 5, scene 1:
      Remoue and march, soft and faire Gentlemen, soft and faire: double your files, as you were, faces about. Now you with the sodden face, keepe in there []
    • 1795, Samuel Jackson Pratt, Gleanings through Wales, Holland and Westphalia, London: T.N. Longman and L.B. Seeley, Letter 49, pp. 444-445,[6]
      Of the music-girls, many are pretty featured, but carry in every lineament, the signs of their lamentable vocation: sodden complexions, feebly glossed over by artificial daubings of the worst colour []


Derived terms[edit]



sodden (third-person singular simple present soddens, present participle soddening, simple past and past participle soddened)

  1. (transitive) To drench, soak or saturate.
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, chapter 4, in Moonfleet, London, Toronto, Ont.: Jonathan Cape, published 1934:
      But as I lay asleep the top had been pressed off the box, and the tinder got loose in my pocket; and though I picked the tinder out easily enough, and got it in the box again, yet the salt damps of the place had soddened it in the night, and spark by spark fell idle from the flint.
  2. (intransitive) To become soaked.



Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of soden