[fahyuh r-waw-ter, -wot-er]


alcoholic drink; liquor.

Origin of firewater

1820–30; fire + water; probably a translation of an expression in an Algonquian language, as Ojibwa iškote·wa·po· whiskey (earlier, other distilled liquors), equivalent to iškote·w-, combining form of iškote· fire + -a·po· liquid Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for firewater

Historical Examples of firewater

  • And he swallowed a third of his firewater at a gulp and went to find her.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • They had not yet learned to drink the white man's firewater.

  • So he brought a little cask of firewater an' left it on the bank of the Big-Muddy.

    How The Raven Died

    Alfred Henry Lewis

  • At the words "firewater," the Indians quivered, and their eyes sparkled with greed.

    The Smuggler Chief

    Gustave Aimard

  • At the word "firewater," their eyes sparkled with covetousness.

    The Indian Scout

    Gustave Aimard

British Dictionary definitions for firewater



any strong spirit, esp whisky
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 firewater

"alcoholic liquor," 1826, American English, supposedly from American Indians, from fire (n.) + water (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper