mid-14c., from Old French sauce, sausse, from Latin salsa "things salted, salt food," noun use of fem. singular or neuter plural of adjective salsus "salted," from past participle of Old Latin sallere "to salt," from sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt").
Meaning "something which adds piquancy to words or actions" is recorded from c. 1500; sense of "impertinence" first recorded 1835 (see saucy, and compare sass). Slang meaning "liquor" first attested 1940.
mid-15c., "to season," from sauce (n.). From 1862 as "to speak impertinently." Related: Sauced; saucing.
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