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Does anyone besides my husband insist on adding an -ed to sour cream? Etymonline dates "sour cream" to 1855, but has no mention of "soured", so I don't think this is analogous to "iced tea" or "ice cream". Is this a regional thing? He grew up in New England, but English is not his parents' first language, so his accent is more Uncle Walter than This Old House.

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For what it's worth, I have never heard it called soured. I'm Scottish. –  Rory Alsop Oct 28 '11 at 17:14
Your husband is now the source of two questions on this site. He really ought to join, just to defend himself. :D –  Marthaª Oct 28 '11 at 17:27
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4 Answers

After a quick Google Ngram search, soured cream appears to be used very little. Personally, I have never heard it used. On the product itself, (in Canada), the label declares it to be sour cream. There are 39.8 million hits for sour cream on Google, and 0.6 million for soured cream. If we change the Google Ngram to British English, soured cream's popularity increases, so I assume that this is mainly a British expression. Changing it to American English shows almost no results for soured cream.

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As a New Englander, I have never heard it called "soured cream".

According to Google ngrams, "sour cream" is FAR more popular, but this result indicates that it was originally "soured cream" (not sure how reliable it is).

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Looking at the entry for sour (the verb) in the NOAD, I find the following definition:

make or become sour: [with object]: water soured with tamarind | (as adjective soured): soured cream | [without object]: a bowl of milk was souring in the sun.

Soured cream is a valid alternative to sour cream.

Looking at the Corpus of Contemporary American English, I notice that the most used phrase is sour cream.


The data for soured cream is not visible because the CoCA reports just one or two sentences containing that phrase.

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I'd be interested to see the context for usage of "soured cream": is it actually a synonym for "sour cream", or a different substance entirely, namely cream that has gone bad? –  Marthaª Jun 21 '12 at 23:27
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Soured cream is English and sour cream is American English. We don't eat it as much, dips are not as popular here (although on the rise) and we tend to use yogurt or creme fraiche, that's why it shows lower search results.

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If you buy sour cream in England, what does the package say? Does it have the -ed or not? –  JPmiaou Aug 20 '12 at 19:36
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