aqua vitae

[vahy-tee, vee-tee]


spirituous liquor, as brandy or whiskey.

Origin of aqua vitae

1375–1425; late Middle English aqua vite < Latin: water of life; cf. aquavit, whiskey Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aqua vitae

Historical Examples of aqua vitae

  • Many a cask of ale and cider is on tap, and many a draught of spiced wine and aqua-vitae has been quaffed.

    Main Street

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

British Dictionary definitions for aqua vitae

aqua vitae


an archaic name for brandy

Word Origin for aqua vitae

Medieval Latin: water of life
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for aqua vitae

early 15c., Latin, literally "water of life," an alchemical term for unrefined alcohol. Applied to brandy, whiskey, etc. from 1540s. Cf. whiskey, also French eau-de-vie "spirits, brandy," literally "water of life."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper