Definition of sop in English:



  • 1A thing of no great value given or done as a concession to appease someone whose main concerns or demands are not being met.

    ‘my agent telephones as a sop but never finds me work’
    • ‘Media pundits have suggested it was a sop to appease the right wing in the cabinet.’
    • ‘The great powers were focused on collective security; it was as a concession, a sop, that they consented to a peripheral project regarding human rights.’
    • ‘The main sop is a pledge to increase markets for US goods overseas by carrying out a more aggressive trade policy against Europe and Japan.’
    • ‘There are added serrations at the front of the slide, a sop to popular demand more than a useful necessity unless you're going to mount a scope atop the pistol.’
    • ‘As a sop to the public, murder is likely to be excepted from this change of jurisdiction; but who defines murder?’
    • ‘There may be some sops to home-buyers in Wednesday's budget, possibly in the form of raising the threshold at which Stamp Duty becomes payable from £60,000 to £100,000.’
    • ‘The Government should, therefore, not act in haste and introduce subsidies and other sops for mitigating short-term repercussions, as these would affect the industry in the long run.’
    • ‘However, just tinkering with the exchange rate or giving a few sops to exporters is unlikely to ramp exports up by the kind of scale that a seven per cent growth entails.’
    • ‘While the Centre seems content to follow a policy of wait-and-watch, the State governments say that by the time the sops are handed out, it would be too late.’
    • ‘But if he imagines that the country will be any the better for his cynical sops to the class-warrior wing of his party, he is mistaken.’
    • ‘Looked at from afar both subsidies look like sops to the middle classes.’
    • ‘Think of the good done - the minimum wages, the new deals and other sops to middle class consciences, they plead.’
    • ‘His comments on Monday may have been sops to a hostile and left leaning audience.’
    • ‘It should be possible to offer some sops to agencies which are diligent in repairing the roads dug up by them.’
    • ‘With major textile shops going all out to woo customers with sops, Loom World too is not far behind.’
    • ‘Here are some sops which might help politicians in spreading their net for votes.’
    • ‘The Magazine, a big glossy monthly freebie with the Sydney Morning Herald and a sop to Sydney's more onanistic tendencies, last week came up with a list of Sydney's ten finest minds.’
    • ‘Those handwritten appraisals of titles by bookshops are merely a sop to political correctness and their own egos.’
    • ‘The critical thing is that fostering civilized behavior should be a priority up front in the design of our foreign policy, not an afterthought, a sop to bleeding hearts, or a pretext for something else.’
    • ‘Only then will we get the council tax relief out area needs and put a sop to these ridiculously high rises.’
    compromise, adjustment, modification
  • 2A piece of bread dipped in gravy, soup, or sauce.

    • ‘At this time sops - pieces of bread - were used to soak up liquid mixtures, and these were often first toasted, which reduced their tendency to disintegrate.’
    • ‘By chance I'd had them the day before as a satisfactory sop for a piece of grilled sea bass at Kensington Place in west London.’
    • ‘As such, soups or sops, as they were also known, became a dish with its own distinction, so did bisque.’
    • ‘Aleberry was ale boiled with spices and sugar and sops of bread.’

verbsops, sopping, sopped

[with object]sop something up
  • 1Soak up liquid using an absorbent substance.

    ‘he used some bread to sop up the sauce’
    • ‘We take bread and sop up the soup from the brown ceramic bowls.’
    • ‘All Polish donuts, though, are greasy because the dense dough sops up the fry oil, and they tend to have a leathery paper tear-texture to the skin.’
    • ‘The batter sops up more than two grams of saturated fat and three grams of trans fat in the deep-fat fryer.’
    • ‘Hoppers are often eaten for breakfast, but Jaffrey emphasizes their versatility, and also their pleasing ability to sop up all sorts of juices and savoury or sweet flavours.’
    • ‘If you can, buy a dozen different wines, have a picnic in the car park with plenty of baguettes to sop up the wine, and select your favourites before going back in to buy them.’
    • ‘But if, like us, you have any sympathies towards English food whatsoever, you'll love the way they are soaking in the tomato gravy, getting all soggy and sopping up the flavours.’
    • ‘Mom grabbed a paper towel and sopped up the spilled coffee.’
    • ‘Run it along your hairline to sop up excess sweat.’
    • ‘I took one look, took a very deep breath, and then used all the available towels to sop up the mess, much to the barely concealed amusement of Zachery.’
    • ‘Those same frozen fries gain similar respectability sopping up the cognac-tinged pan juices of rock 'n' roll beef, a staple of local Vietnamese menus that grew on me here.’
    soak up, suck up, draw in, draw up, take in, take up, blot up, mop up, sponge up, sop up
    1. 1.1archaic Wet thoroughly; soak.
      ‘the dews … bemoistening sop his harden'd shoes’
      • ‘Then he would "sop" his bread or biscuit in the sweet mixture.’
      dampen, damp, moisten, humidify


Old English soppian ‘dip (bread) in liquid’, sopp (noun), probably from the base of Old English sūpan ‘sup’. Sense 1 (mid 17th century) alludes to the sop used by Aeneas on his visit to Hades to appease Cerberus.