Sorry, no definitions found. Check out and contribute to the discussion of this word!


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • In a blind tasting, the rums ran the gamut from bland and watery to complex and fiery, with a few skull-popping examples that illustrate why the earliest name for rum was "kill-devil."

    From the Demonic to the Delectable

  • These rebels were no saints: their worship was obi-worship; the women had not far outgrown the plantation standard of chastity, and the men drank "kill-devil" like their betters.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 31, May, 1860

  • The three had taken in full lading of kill-devil rum, and Tyburn


  • We went upon several plantations where Gerrit was acquainted with almost all of the people, who made us very welcome, sharing with us bountifully whatever they had, whether it was milk, cider, fruit or tobacco, and especially, and first and most of all, miserable rum or brandy which had been brought from Barbados and other islands, and which is called by the Dutch _kill-devil_.

    Journal of Jasper Danckaerts, 1679-1680

  • John Eliot spelled it "rumb," and Josselyn called it plainly "that cussed liquor, Rhum, rumbullion, or kill-devil."

    Customs and Fashions in Old New England

  • First, negroes with bill-hooks to clear the way; then the van-guard; then the main body, interspersed with negroes bearing boxes of ball-cartridges; then the rear-guard, with many more negroes, bearing camp-equipage, provisions, and new rum, surnamed "kill-devil," and appropriately followed by a sort of palanquin for the disabled.

    Black Rebellion Five Slave Revolts

  • Most of the rum they get in this country comes from New England, and is so bad and unwholesome, that it is not improperly called "kill-devil."

    The Westover Manuscripts: Containing the History of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina; A Journey to the Land of Eden, A. D. 1733; and A Progress to the Mines. Written from 1728 to 1736, and Now First Published

  • "Nigger Pew," -- where, I am sorry to record, he more than once solaced and warmed himself with a bottle of "kill-devil" which he had smuggled into church, until he fell ignominiously asleep and his drunken snores so disturbed the minister and the congregation, that two tithingmen were forced to climb the ladder-like staircase and pull him down and out of the church and to the neighboring tavern to sleep off the effects of the liquor.

    Sabbath in Puritan New England

  • a rum punch which seems to have been concocted first by Admiral Bombo, from a New England brand of rum so very deadly that it was not inaptly styled 'kill-devil' by the early planters of the colony.

    Lady Baltimore

  • Pour me a glass of rum and within the vapors rises a raucous and even romantic history of joy, tragedy and debauchery: tippling houses in Barbados in the early 1600's, where British settlers supped the earliest permutation of rum, which they referred to as "kill-devil"; jug wielding pirates careening through the streets of Port Royal in Jamaica, wildly spending their pieces of eight plundered from the Spanish and British empires; independence-minded American revolutionaries huddled in taverns drinking rum Flips and plotting their resistance against the heavy taxes imposed upon them by the British; Americans fleeing Prohibition downing Daiquiris and Swizzles in the jammed bars of Havana; opulent tiki palaces serving Mai Tais, flaming Scorpion bowls, Hurricanes and Fog Cutters to lei-festooned business-men and June Cleaveresque housewives.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • old term for rum

    March 6, 2014