• acronym forsmall-outline package
    (written as SOP)
  • acronym forsum-of-products
    (written as SOP)

Origin & History of “sop”

The word sop originally denoted a ‘piece of bread, cake, etc dipped into water, milk, wine, or similar liquid’. The modern metaphorical meaning ‘something given to gain favour, bribe’ did not emerge until the mid-17th century, in allusion to the piece of bread soaked in enticing honey but spiked with a soporific drug that was given to the guard dog Cerberus to put him to sleep so that Aeneas could visit the Underworld. The word goes back ultimately to the same prehistoric Germanic base (*sup-) that produced English sip and sup ‘drink’, and also, via the romance languages, soup and supper. The corresponding verb sop ‘dip in liquid’ now survives only in the present participial form sopping ‘soaking wet’ (19th c.).