May 1st, 2008

How to Spell: vroom vroom!

This is the sentence:
A suped up Honda zipped down the lonely street.
There is dissent over the proper way to spell/punctuate the term "suped up."

Poll #1181198 How do you spell sup/supe/soup?

How do YOU spell it?

suped up
sup'd up
souped up
other (write-in below)

No, it's like THIS:

For the record, I thought the term is derived from supercharged, not from filling the car with Campbell's. But also for the record, Urban Dictionary disagrees with me. "Soup-up" is the official entry for making your car/bike better. Then again, UD is a reflection of the opinions of people who spend their money on using the Internet instead of tweaking their engine. And to flip back again, perhaps I should ignore what is probably correct according to people who own such vehicles and just go with what's correct according to people who'll be reading my work, especially since Google gives me 194,000 results for "suped up" and over a million results for "souped up."

...But Wiktionary accepts both.

And all this over one little phrase! I love language. ^_^

ETA: Thanks to cheapdialogue, we have a definitive etymology--just do a search on that page for "souped up" or "zoom, zoom, thud." Or, if you're lazy, here's the money shot:
"To soup" as a verb originally meant, not surprisingly, to provide someone with soup, but around 1931 "to soup up" appeared, meaning to modify the engine of an aircraft or motor vehicle to increase its power and speed. In part, this use may have been rooted in "soup" as 1930s slang for the stimulants sometimes injected into racehorses to make them run faster. But a more immediate source (and the reason your spelling makes more sense) was probably the fact that the preferred method of "souping up" an engine was to add a "supercharger," a device designed to force additional air into the cylinders and boost power. It is also possible that the simple adjective "super," as you guessed, may have figured into "souping up."