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a. Sour fermented dough used as leaven in making bread.
b. Bread made from such a leaven.
2. An early settler or prospector, especially in Alaska and northwest Canada.

[Sense 2, from an association with using pieces of sourdough to leaven bread in the winter.]


(Cookery) dialect (of bread) made with fermented dough used as a leaven
(Mining & Quarrying) (in Western US, Canada, and Alaska) an old-time prospector or pioneer


(ˈsaʊərˌdoʊ, ˈsaʊ ər-)

1. fermented dough, used as a leavening agent from one baking to the next.
2. a veteran prospector in Alaska or NW Canada.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sourdough - a leaven of dough in which fermentation is activesourdough - a leaven of dough in which fermentation is active; used by pioneers for making bread
leaven, leavening - a substance used to produce fermentation in dough or a liquid
2.sourdough - a settler or prospector (especially in western United States or northwest Canada and Alaska)
western United States, West - the region of the United States lying to the west of the Mississippi River
prospector - someone who explores an area for mineral deposits
colonist, settler - a person who settles in a new colony or moves into new country


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References in periodicals archive ?
Most machines will let the home cook whip up pizza dough, cakes, even European-style artisan breads like pain au levain.
If you could stand on the top of the courthouse next to the large copper Cod weather vane, you could smell roasting coffee and freshly baked loaves of sourdough, pane bello, and pain au levain from the west and south.
thick) cut from a round loaf such as pain au levain 1 cup loosely packed small watercress sprigs 4 thin slices prosciutto (about 1 3/4 oz.