I know this is a bowl of soup

enter image description here

so, the soup has liquid, vegetables and meat.

If I have to say each component of the soup seperately.

Can I say the liquid "water"? and say the vegetables "bits"?

For example, "I just want to eat the bits, I don't want the water" or "this water is yummy but the bits are tasteless"


3 Answers 3


The liquid is broth.

There's not as much of a standard name for the bits; I think it might be solids, but in a conversation you're just as likely to hear "the uh, y'know, the floaty bits, not the broth." The best option is often to just say what's in the soup.

  • 5
    I'm not 100% sure broth works as well if the soup isn't a thin and clear one the way it is with just unthickened stock or bouillon. I'm thinking in particular of thicker soups like tomato soup, split pea soup, and New England clam chowder; broth might not be optimal with those, but I have no better suggestion.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 17:55
  • 9
    I think the meaning of ‘broth’ varies between regions.  Here in the UK it's usually a thick, starchy soup (e.g. Scotch broth); a thin soup (such as the liquid in the question) would be a consommé, bouillon, or stock.  (In either case, you could simply call it ‘liquid’.)
    – gidds
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 18:10
  • 4
    I think a more generic word might be "liquid". for "cream of X" soups, it's presumably the cream.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 3:07
  • 3
    @gidds I'm in the UK, and I'd call what is pictured vegetables in a broth before consommé or bouillon came to mind. Certainly not a stock, since it is intended to be consumed direct.
    – James T
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 9:30
  • 5
    @gidds: To my (English) ear, the liquid in OP’s picture is definitely the broth of the soup — broth can either mean a whole soup (either thick or thin), or the liquid part of a liquid-with-things-in-it soup. Like JamesT, I think of stock as referring to an ingredient rather than a finished dish; consommé as narrower, just meaning specific kinds of thin soup, usually meat-based; and bouillon as a rough synonym for a stock (as an ingredient), or as a soup that consists primarily just of stock.
    – PLL
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 11:55

I would say that the liquid part is the soup (as commented by Spratty on the other answer). This is made very unclear by the fact that the whole dish is also called soup. I might say liquid if I wanted to be less ambiguous. Broth, as suggested by the-baby-is-you, will always be understood clearly but not be considered correct in all circumstances (as the discussion under his answer shows).

Bits is a perfectly good word to use for the vegetables etc. It's very informal, though, and doesn't sound very flattering, e.g. "the soup was okay, but the bits were overcooked and mushy". If you wanted to compliment them specifically it would sound much better to name them, e.g. "I thought the vegetables were very good".

  • 3
    soup is the whole thing, the broth and the vegetables.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 16:53
  • 1
    @Lambie, broth is the whole thing, both soup and vegetables. Depends where in the world you are, I think! Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 17:20
  • 2
    @TobySpeight Too many cooks spoil the broth. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 17:23
  • But are croutons bits? We're opening a canteen of worms here: a broth (or stock), lumpy bits cooked in it, an administration of croutons, a garnish of parsley and even- $deity preserve us- PARMESAN!!! Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 22:17
  • @TobySpeight Not necessarily at all. I just asked a friend in London and he says that would be broth, so would I [in the US]. So, there is no difference. Maybe we should ask Jamie Oliver.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 17:38

For the sake of precision, one could call soup without the vegetable pieces (previously discarded) vegetable consommé or beef, chicken consommé if the stock was made with meat.

The simpler dish, clear soupKlare Suppe in German–is sometimes mistakenly called consommé which uses egg whites to clarify the soup. Instead, clear soup is strained through a fine sieve or a muslin cloth to filter impurities and make it completely clear.

a small bowl of Japanese clear soup with a few pieces of vegetables

  • clear soup, as you say, and broth are basically the same thing and this simply does not answer the OP's question at all.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 17:39

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