Definition of syrup in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsirəp/
(also sirup)


1A thick sweet liquid made by dissolving sugar in boiling water, often used for preserving fruit.
Example sentences
  • Select canned fruit in its own juice or water, not heavy syrup, and frozen fruit without added sugar.
  • Make a simple mint syrup by boiling sugar and water together for 5 minutes; cool.
  • Candied fruits and fruits preserved in syrup are also traditional.
1.1A thick sweet liquid containing medicine or used as a drink: cough syrup
More example sentences
  • This type of sedation involves swallowing sedative tablets or syrup.
  • Boxes of medicines, varying from children's syrup to Viagra and antiretrovirals, were found in the warehouse.
  • Simple cough mixtures contain ingredients known as demulcents, for example glycerin, honey and syrup.
1.2A thick sticky liquid derived from a sugar-rich plant, especially sugar cane, corn, and maple.
Example sentences
  • The sugar syrup would then be processed to extract a liquid sucrose for sale to U.S. food processors for use in breakfast cereal, ice cream, and candy.
  • Sticky rice prepared with coconut milk and sugarcane syrup is wrapped in banana leaves.
  • Molasses is a byproduct of the sugar refining process, it is the thick syrup you get when you boil down the sugar cane juices to extract sugar.
1.3Excessive sweetness or sentimentality of style or manner: Mr. Gurney’s poems are almost all of them syrup
More example sentences
  • Jill dripped her words with syrup and the sweetness in her tone made the guard nauseous.


Late Middle English: from Old French sirop or medieval Latin siropus, from Arabic šarāb 'beverage'; compare with sherbet and shrub2.

  • sherbet from early 17th century:

    The words sherbet and sorbet (late 16th century) are essentially the same, and are closely related to syrup (Late Middle English) and shrub (mid 18th century), a drink made with sweetened fruit juice and rum or brandy. All go back to a group of words centring on Arabic sariba ‘to drink’. The sharp-tasting powdered sweet sherbet was originally used to make a fizzy drink, from the 1850s.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: syr·up

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