[lik-er or for 3, lik-wawr]


a distilled or spirituous beverage, as brandy or whiskey, as distinguished from a fermented beverage, as wine or beer.
any liquid substance, as broth from cooked meats or vegetables.
Pharmacology. solution(def 6).
a solution of a substance, especially a concentrated one used in the industrial arts.

verb (used with object)

Informal. to furnish or ply with liquor to drink (often followed by up).

verb (used without object)

Informal. to drink large quantities of liquor (often followed by up).

Origin of liquor

1175–1225; < Latin: a liquid, orig. liquidity (liqu(ēre) to be liquid + -or -or1); replacing Middle English lic(o)ur < Old French (French liqueur) < Latin liquōrem, accusative of liquor
Related formsliq·uor·y, adjectivean·ti·liq·uor, adjective
Can be confusedliqueur liquor

Synonyms for liquor

2. juice, drippings. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for liquor

Contemporary Examples of liquor

Historical Examples of liquor

  • He is never downright intoxicated, and never free from the effects of liquor.

  • He had been drinking, and the warmth of the liquor was in his voice.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Still I confess that liquor did all the mischief, as I had drunk just enough to make me careless.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The liquor was sherry, and it took nine bottles of it to lay us both up.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Also, for the most part, they were just then more or less in liquor.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

British Dictionary definitions for liquor



any alcoholic drink, esp spirits, or such drinks collectively
any liquid substance, esp that in which food has been cooked
pharmacol a solution of a pure substance in water
brewing warm water added to malt to form wort
in liquor drunk; intoxicated


brewing to steep (malt) in warm water to form wort; mash

Word Origin for liquor

C13: via Old French from Latin, from liquēre to be liquid
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 liquor

c.1200, likur "any matter in a liquid state," from Old French licor "fluid, liquid; sap; oil" (Modern French liqueur), from Latin liquorem (nominative liquor) "liquidity, fluidity," also "a liquid, the sea," from liquere "be fluid, liquid" (see liquid (adj.)). Narrowed sense of "fermented or distilled drink" (especially wine) first recorded c.1300. To liquor up "get drunk" is from 1845. The form in English has been assimilated to Latin, but the pronunciation has not changed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for liquor




An aqueous solution, especially of a medicinal substance.
An alcoholic beverage made by distillation rather than by fermentation.
In anatomical nomenclature, a term for any of several body fluids.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.