a sour liquid consisting of dilute and impure acetic acid, obtained by acetous fermentation from wine, cider, beer, ale, or the like: used as a condiment, preservative, etc.
Pharmacology. a solution of a medicinal substance in dilute acetic acid, or vinegar.
sour or irritable speech, manner, or countenance: a note of vinegar in his voice.
Informal. vigor; high spirits; vim.

Origin of vinegar

1250–1300; Middle English vinegre < Old French, equivalent to vin wine + egre, aigre sour (see eager1)
Related formsvin·e·gar·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for vinegar



a sour-tasting liquid consisting of impure dilute acetic acid, made by oxidation of the ethyl alcohol in beer, wine, or cider. It is used as a condiment or preservative
sourness or peevishness of temper, countenance, speech, etc
pharmacol a medicinal solution in dilute acetic acid
US and Canadian informal vitality


(tr) to apply vinegar to
Derived Formsvinegarish, adjectivevinegar-like, adjective

Word Origin for vinegar

C13: from Old French vinaigre, from vin wine + aigre sour, from Latin acer sharp
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 vinegar

c.1300, from Old French vinaigre, from vin "wine" (from Latin vinum; see wine) + aigre "sour" (see eager). In Latin, it was vinum acetum "wine turned sour;" cf. also Greek oxos "wine vinegar," which is related to oxys "sharp" (see acrid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vinegar in Medicine




An impure dilute solution of acetic acid obtained by fermentation beyond the alcohol stage and used as a preservative.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.