Definitions

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

  • n. A cheap rum distilled from molasses and refuse sugar in the West Indies.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A variety of rum.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A variety of rum.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In the West Indies, a kind of rum distilled from the fermented skimmings obtained from cane-juice during the process of boiling down, or from the lower grades of molasses, and also from brown and refuse sugar.

Etymologies

French, perhaps of West Indian Creole origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Malay? Compare ratafia. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In addition, the young butler had stored away certain demijohns, holding half a dozen gallons each, of excellent _ "tafia," _

    Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon

  • In addition, the young butler had stored away certain demijohns, holding half a dozen gallons each, of excellent “tafia,” a sugared brandy a trifle more pronounced in taste than the national beiju.

    Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon

  • Torres commenced, then, by applying to his lips a flask which he carried at his side; it contained the liquor generally known under the name of “chica” in Peru, and more particularly under that of “caysuma” in the Upper Amazon, to which fermented distillation of the root of the sweet manioc the captain had added a good dose of “tafia” or native rum.

    Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon

  • Fields of sugar-canes soon required the construction of a mill to crush the sacchariferous stalks destined to be used hereafter in the manufacture of molasses, tafia, and rum.

    Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon

  • It is as well to add that Araujo — that was his name — never saw better than when he had imbibed a few glasses of tafia; and he never did any work at all without a certain demijohn of that liquor, to which he paid frequent court.

    Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon

  • My little stock of goods began visibly to shrink, when I informed the greedy applicants that nothing beyond a leaf of tobacco and a demi verre of tafia would be given until I had seen my way to work.

    Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo

  • Without was the paper money of the Continental Congress, within the good tafia and tobacco of Monsieur Vigo.

    The Crossing

  • Here we stopped for a day and a night that Xavier and his crew might get properly drunk on tafia, while Nick and I walked about the town and waited until his

    The Crossing

  • Here we stopped for a day and a night that Xavier and his crew might get properly drunk on tafia, while Nick and I walked about the town and waited until his Excellency, the commandant, had finished dinner that we might present our letters and obtain his passport.

    The Crossing

  • Instead of the latter, a cheap, unwholesome drink, tafia, bought at the island, was to be served out.

    Terre Napoleón; a History of French Explorations and Projects in Australia

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