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From Middle English sirup, from Old French sirop, from Medieval Latin siruppus, syrupus, from Arabic شَرَاب(šarāb, a drink, beverage, wine, coffee, syrup), from شَرِبَ(šariba, to drink). Related to sorbet, sherbet. Compare French sirop, Italian siroppo, sciroppo, Spanish jarabe, jarope, Portuguese xarope, and Dutch siroop and stroop.

The first known use of the spelling sirup was in the 14th century.



syrup (countable and uncountable, plural syrups)

  1. Any thick liquid that has a high sugar content and which is added to or poured over food as a flavouring.
    maple syrup
    pancake syrup
    peaches in syrup
  2. (by extension) Any viscous liquid.
    cough syrup
    rose syrup (rosewater)
  3. (figurative) Anything overly sweet or sentimental.
    • 1990, Wayne Jancik, The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders, →ISBN, page 266:
      Eventually, he or his staunch public tired of his easy-listening syrup, so Price recorded gospel for the Myrrh label before semi-retiring to his Golden Cross Ranch in Texas.
  4. (Cockney rhyming slang, shortened from "syrup of figs") A wig.

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]


  • Tsonga: sirapu
  • Welsh: surop
  • Zulu: isiraphu
  • Hebrew: סירופ



syrup (third-person singular simple present syrups, present participle syruping, simple past and past participle syruped)

  1. (transitive) To convert or process into syrup.
  2. (transitive) To add syrup to.
  3. (transitive) To sabotage (a vehicle) by pouring syrup into the gas tank.