from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun plural Soapy water.
  • noun plural Foam; lather.
  • noun plural Slang Beer.
  • intransitive verb To wash in suds.
  • intransitive verb To form or make suds.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Water impregnated with soap, forming a frothy mass; a lixivium of soap and water.
  • The foam or spray churned up by a wounded whale; White water.
  • In the suds, in turmoil or difficulty; in distress.
  • A manufacturers' name for various waste soap-liquors incidentally produced in the industries of wool- and silk-scouring, -bleaching, -dyeing, etc. These were formerly allowed to run off into river-courses, but, in view of their polluting effect on the water, measures are now adopted to at least partially prevent this pollution and recover some material of value from the suds. See Yorkshire grease, sake, 2, and sudcake.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun plural Water impregnated with soap, esp. when worked up into bubbles and froth.
  • noun plural [Colloq.] in turmoil or difficulty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun lather, foam

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb wash in suds
  • verb make froth or foam and become bubbly
  • noun the froth produced by soaps or detergents
  • noun a dysphemism for beer (especially for lager that effervesces)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps from obsolete Dutch zudse, marsh, from Middle Dutch sudse.]


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  • When the customer comes and Violet is sudsing the thin gray hair . . .

    Then sudses with all her heart those three or four ounces of gray hair, soft and interesting as a baby's.

    —Toni Morrison, Jazz

    A morphological oddity: the noun 'suds' was originally plural, but you'd still expect the derived verb to be made from the base 'sud'. However, we say 'suds' as a verb too.

    December 19, 2008

  • Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale

    January 8, 2009