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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

in Chinese restaurant dishes, a reference to General Tso Tsungtang (1812-1885), military leader during the late Qing dynasty who crushed the Taiping rebels in four provinces. The chicken dish that bears his name (for no apparent reason) in Chinese restaurants apparently is modified from a traditional Hunan chung ton gai and may have been named for the general c.1972 by a chef in New York City during the time Hunan cuisine first became popular among Americans.


Tso may refer to:

  • Tso or Ts'o, several Chinese surnames (e.g., Cao) in dialect or Wade–Giles romanization, which may refer to:
    • Zuo Zongtang or General Tso
    • Theodore Ts'o, a software developer mainly known for his contributions to the Linux kernel

Usage examples of "tso".

True Gospel had long since left the place near the Hogback where Tso had gone to tow in the Plymouth.

Tsossie hogan, and the Tso place, and to all the other places from which the word would quickly spread.