light dish, sometimes savory but usually sweet, 1813, from French soufflé, noun use of past participle of souffler "to puff up," from Latin sufflare, from sub "under, up from under" (see sub-) + flare "to blow" (from PIE root *bhle- "to blow").
word-forming element meaning "under, beneath; behind; from under; resulting from further division," from Latin preposition sub "under, below, beneath, at the foot of," also "close to, up to, towards;" of time, "within, during;" figuratively "subject to, in the power of;" also "a little, somewhat" (as in sub-horridus "somewhat rough"), from PIE *(s)up- (perhaps representing *ex-upo-), a variant form of the root *upo "under," also "up from under." The Latin word also was used as a prefix and in various combinations.
In Latin assimilated to following -c-, -f-, -g-, -p-, and often -r- and -m-. In Old French the prefix appears in the full Latin form only "in learned adoptions of old Latin compounds" [OED], and in popular use it was represented by sous-, sou-; as in French souvenir from Latin subvenire, souscrire (Old French souzescrire) from subscribere, etc.
The original meaning is now obscured in many words from Latin (suggest, suspect, subject, etc.). The prefix is active in Modern English, sometimes meaning "subordinate" (as in subcontractor); "inferior" (17c., as in subhuman); "smaller" (18c.); "a part or division of" (c. 1800, as in subcontinent).
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit upa "near, under, up to, on," Greek hypo "under," Latin sub "under, below," Gothic iup, Old Norse, Old English upp "up, upward," Hittite up-zi "rises."
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Definitions of souffle
light fluffy dish of egg yolks and stiffly beaten egg whites mixed with e.g. cheese or fish or fruit;