from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Irish & Scots Whiskey.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. whisky/whiskey
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A compound distilled spirit made in Ireland and Scotland; whisky.
- n. A liquor compounded of brandy, or other strong spirit, raisins, cinnamon and other spices.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Distilled spirit made by the Celtic people of the British Islands, originally from barley. In this sense the term is still used in Scotland for malt whisky.
Some authorities consider that the word is derived from the first part of the term usquebaugh; others suppose it to be derived from the name of a place, the Basque provinces, where some such compound was concocted in the fourteenth century.
Two hundred years later, the Catalan scholar Arnaud of Villanova dubbed the active principle of wine aqua vitae, the “water of life,” a term that lives on in Scandinavia (aquavit), in France (eau de vie), and in English: whisky is the anglicized version of the Gaelic for “water of life,” uisge beatha or usquebaugh, which is what Irish and Scots monks called their distilled barley beer.
Which English word is a shortened form of "usquebaugh", which English borrowed from Gaelic, meaning "water of life"?
The dinner ended with cheese and oatcake, accompanied by a few small glasses of "usquebaugh," capital whisky, five and twenty years old -- just Harry's age.
While the old Professor was revived with copious draughts of "usquebaugh," Jack Blunt saw the flash below him, on the darkened seas, of a red light above a white one.
"usquebaugh," capital whisky, five and twenty years old -- just Harry's age.
"usquebaugh" is probably an anglicized phonetic rendering of the Irish Gaelic phrase "uisce beatha" -- which translates to "water of life".
"I roll your word for liquor, usquebaugh, around my mouth", the speaker says reverently, before letting the whiskey drip down into a lustrous final couplet in which the last line is spun out beyond its natural length to extend the warmth of the moment: "You are distilled before you disappear forever/like the raised glass, the sunlight on one last golden measure."
The word “whisky” is a shortened form of the Gaelic word usquebaugh, or “water of life,” i.e., aqua vitae.
Old Keltie, the landlord, who had bestowed his name on a bridge in the neighbourhood of his quondam dwelling, received the carrier with his usual festive cordiality, and adjourned with him into the house, under pretence of important business, which, I believe, consisted in their emptying together a mutchkin stoup of usquebaugh.
Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.