Suped up or Souped Up? (Meaning & Origin)

Have you ever heard someone say that they had a “souped-up” car? Or is it “suped-up” car?

In this post, we will not only cover the proper spelling of this phrase, but also what it means and where it came from.

Suped-up or Souped-up – Which Spelling Is Correct?

The original correct spelling is “souped-up”. However, in recent years the spelling “suped-up” has also become popular, since the phrase refers to “supercharging” a vehicle. However, as far as the original spelling of the word is concerned, the correct spelling is “souped-up”.

suped up or souped up

Like all languages, English evolves over time. At some point in the future, native speakers may overall determine that “suped-up” is the proper spelling of this word. However, as of right now, the proper spelling is still the original “souped-up”.

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What Does “Souped-up” Mean?

“Souped-up” is slang used primarily to describe a car as being modified for greater power and performance. If someone were to make modifications to a normal car to make it better, one could describe that car as being “souped-up”.

In the same vein, you could “soup up” a car. Technically, you could use this phrase in other situations where you are modifying something to be better, but the phrase “souped-up” is used almost exclusively in reference to cars. Almost no one would “soup-up” a train or a boat.

What Is the Origin of “Souped-up”?

“Souped-up” is a word that originated in America, most likely deriving from the term “supercharged”. A supercharger is a device that increases the pressure of the air-fuel mixture in a car, which makes it more powerful. So, “supercharged” became a term to describe cars modified to be more powerful.

“Souped-up” just became a much shorter and quicker way to describe a car that has been supercharged. But then, why is it “souped” instead of “suped”? Well, in English, the word “soup” has long been associated with any type of murky liquid.

In fact, in 1911, one of the definitions of “soup” was “any material injected into a horse to change its speed or temperament”. So, “soup” was already associated with murky liquids and the idea of injecting something into something else in order to make it better.

Because of these reasons, when superchargers became a thing, it was easy for English speakers to just move the wording over to the new concept.

Is “Souped-up” an Idiom?

“Souped-up” is an idiom. An idiom is a word or phrase that has a meaning that you can’t deduce from the words themselves. For instance, “raining cats and dogs” is an idiom. Without someone telling you what “souped-up” means, there’s no way to determine that it has anything to do with cars.

Because of the disconnect between the words and the meaning of those words, “souped-up” is an idiom.

Souped-up or Souped up?

If you are going to spell “souped-up”, you should spell it with a hyphen. This is because, despite “souped-up” being two words, it has to be said together to achieve its meaning. You couldn’t just say “souped” and have people know what you’re talking about. You must say “souped-up”.

The hyphen lets a reader know that, even though two words are involved, they are treated as effectively a single word.

Souped-up – Synonyms

If you don’t like the phrase “souped-up” or would just prefer to use a different word entirely, there are a few synonyms you can use to describe something that has been modified to be superior than it was originally.

Below are some of the most common synonyms:

  • Upgraded
  • Enhanced
  • Augmented
  • Improved
  • Tuned Up

All of these words are used to state that something has been taken from its original form and made better. Because of this, they can all function as synonyms to “souped-up”. However, they can be used in more situations than “souped-up”, which his generally connected to cars.