Catsup vs. Ketchup vs. Catchup – What’s the Difference?

Photo of author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Did you know that there are instances where certain words with similar spellings and pronunciations can cause confusion? Gasp! Confusion in the English language? Naw!

There’s actually a trio of words that have caused confusion for years, and they’re “catsup,” “ketchup,” and “catchup.”

Sure, they might look like alternate spellings of the same word. One might even look like a made-up word, but I swear, they’re all real with their own individual definitions. I’ll explain.

How Do You Spell Ketchup?

Catsup vs. Ketchup vs. Catchup Whats the Difference

The spelling for the common and ever-delicious tomato-based condiment is k-e-t-c-h-u-p. This spelling is widely accepted and recognized as the standard American spelling for the popular sauce made from basic ingredients like tomatoes, lemon peel, sugar, and white vinegar.

What’s the Difference Between Ketchup and Catsup?

Ketchup and catsup are both words for the same tomato-based condiment that you put on fires and burgers (and Kraft Dinner if you’re like me). A lot of people think that “catsup” is the British spelling, but that’s not the case at all. Here’s the biggest difference between catsup and ketchup.

Ketchup vs Catsup Ngram
Ketchup and catsup usage trend.

“Ketchup” is what you’ll find used more in the United States, Canada, and also the United Kingdom.

But “catsup” is just an older spelling once used around the world that’s fallen out of favor, but you still find it used on certain products. In fact, the Heinz ketchup company used the spelling of “catsup” on their famous ketchup products back in the 1800s and only changed it to the modern spelling a few years afterward. Apparently, there’s no difference in taste, either. 

Catsup vs. Catchup

So, now you know that “catsup” is an old but alternative spelling for “ketchup.” But the word “catchup” is an entirely different word altogether.

“Catchup” is considered a colloquial term for the act of catching up on something, like catching up on work you’re behind on or catching up to people in a race.

When to Use Catsup

You can use “catsup” when you’re writing fiction that takes place in 1800 to early 1900s or just in place of the word ketchup at any given time. Some people might point it out as wrong, but it’s still correct and accepted today, just not as common.

When to Use Ketchup

You’d use the spelling of “ketchup” when you’re referring to the tomato-based ketchup condiment in everyday conversation and writing. You’ll never be wrong, as it’s the more common spelling variant.

When to Use Catchup

“Catchup” is better used when describing the act of catching up with someone or something, like in terms of progress or sharing updates with friends.

Sentence Examples Using Ketchup

  • My daughter poured ketchup all over her fries before taking a bite.
  • The glass ketchup bottle was almost empty, so I had to tap it on the bottom to get the last bit out.
  • Have you ever had mushroom ketchup?
  • Can you please pass the bottle of ketchup?
  • My dad makes homemade ketchup. 
  • Tomato-based condiments are my favorite, like ketchup. 
  • Jack mixed ketchup and mayonnaise together to create a dipping sauce for his French fries. He calls it fancy ketchup.
  • The new Heinz ketchup flavor is so good and has a spicy kick to it.
  • I prefer mustard over a thousand bottles of ketchup any day.

Sentence Examples Using Catsup

Catsup vs. Ketchup vs. Catchup Whats the Difference 1
  • The old-school diner is so cool and serves its fries with a side of catsup in a small metal cup.
  • My mom found a vintage catsup bottle at the flea market and sold it on eBay for $100.
  • The recipe called for a tablespoon of catsup, but she used ketchup instead because they’re the same.
  • I can’t believe the label on the antique bottle reads “Tomato Catsup.”
  • Corey discovered an old ad for a brand of catsup that was popular in the early 1900s.
  • My favorite French fry condiment is catsup.
  • Catsup has been a staple condiment since the 19th century.

Sentence Examples Using Catchup

  • The old high school sweethearts hadn’t seen each other in years and spent the evening playing catchup.
  • After returning from a glorious vacation, I had to play a lot of catchup at work to make up for the lost time.
  • My best friend and I live a country apart, but we schedule a weekly catchup call to stay in touch and share news about our lives.

Catchup With the World and Say Ketchup Instead of Catsup

That’s the history of ketchup, and all you need to know about these three words. Remember that ketchup and catsup are the same things. Both are still correct, but one is just older. Catchup is what you’d say for the act of catching up with something.

Comments are closed.