Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A sweet cordial flavored with fruit kernels or almonds.
  • noun A biscuit flavored with ratafia.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A sweet, cordial flavored with fruits: sometimes limited to those the flavor of which is obtained from black currants, bitter almonds, or peach- and cherry-kernels.
  • noun A kind of fancy cake or biscuit.
  • noun A flavoring essence of which the principal ingredient is benzoic aldehyde or oil of bitter almonds.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A spirituous liquor flavored with the kernels of cherries, apricots, peaches, or other fruit, spiced, and sweetened with sugar; -- a term applied to the liqueurs called noyau, curaçao, etc.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A liqueur or cordial flavored with peach or cherry kernels, bitter almonds, or other fruits.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun macaroon flavored with ratafia liqueur
  • noun sweet liqueur made from wine and brandy flavored with plum or peach or apricot kernels and bitter almonds

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, perhaps (via West Indian Creole tafiat, formula used to toast a person's health) from New Latin *rata fiat (rēs or conventiō), let (the thing or the agreement) be confirmed (from the practice of concluding a contract with a drink ) : Latin rata, feminine of ratus, past participle of rērī, to reckon, settle; see rate + Latin fiat, let it be done, third person singular present subjunctive of fierī, to become, be done; see fiat.]

Examples

  • For the finale, a traditional liqueur called ratafia is steeping basically fruit and spices soaked in brandy for a few weeks, and although declaring herself "not crafty," Curtis is trying gamely to hand-paint teacups.

    The Seattle Times

  • The stronger or less diluted the spirit is taken, the sooner it seems to destroy, as in dram-drinkers; but still sooner, when kernels of apricots, or bitter almonds, or laurel-leaf, are infused in the spirit, which is termed ratafia; as then two poisons are swallowed at the same time.

    Zoonomia, Vol. II Or, the Laws of Organic Life

  • A fire was burning in the grate to warm the salon, and ratafia biscuits and a flask of sherry were arrayed on a side table.

    The Dressmaker

  • Then came trifle, ratafia biscuits, and a baked custard dusted with cinnamon, and three types of cheeses and grapes to finish.

    The Dressmaker

  • Her hand tightened about her glass of ratafia as their gazes locked.

    The Laird Who Loved Me

  • The ladies made themselves at home in the blue sitting room to talk, sip ratafia, and await the arrival of the gentlemen.

    The Laird Who Loved Me

  • Right now, Dervishton and Falkland were gallantly arguing over who should fetch her a new glass of ratafia.

    The Laird Who Loved Me

  • Right now, Dervishton and Falkland were gallantly arguing over who should fetch her a new glass of ratafia.

    The Laird Who Loved Me

  • Her hand tightened about her glass of ratafia as their gazes locked.

    The Laird Who Loved Me

  • The ladies made themselves at home in the blue sitting room to talk, sip ratafia, and await the arrival of the gentlemen.

    The Laird Who Loved Me

Comments

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  • "...they took their coffee and ratafia biscuits (the sea-going equivalent of petits fours) in the great cabin..."

    --P. O'Brian, The Yellow Admiral, 126

    March 19, 2008

  • Larousse Gastronomique lists ratafia as a term for quince liqueur or quince water.

    February 18, 2010

  • Generally, a liqueur obtained without distilling, by simple infusion.

    February 18, 2010