or whis·ky

[hwis-kee, wis-]

noun, plural whis·keys.

an alcoholic liquor distilled from a fermented mash of grain, as barley, rye, or corn, and usually containing from 43 to 50 percent alcohol.
a drink of whiskey.
a word used in communications to represent the letter W.


made of, relating to, or resembling whiskey.

Origin of whiskey

1705–15; short for whiskybae < Irish uisce beatha or Scots Gaelic uisge beatha, ultimately translation of Medieval Latin aqua vitae literally, water of life; cf. usquebaugh
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for whiskey

Contemporary Examples of whiskey

Historical Examples of whiskey

  • Why have they not forbidden the sale of whiskey in all saloons?

  • Then Luke Shanders 'lowed he was cold, and asked if I had a drap o' whiskey.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • The lights were put out, and then the two officers capsized the whiskey.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The whiskey was going round, and the lads were a little flushed.

  • Father, then here's all you done for me, by your lies and your whiskey!

British Dictionary definitions for whiskey



the usual Irish and US spelling of whisky



communications a code word for the letter w
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 whiskey

1715, from Gaelic uisge beatha "whisky," literally "water of life," from Old Irish uisce "water" + bethu "life." The Gaelic is probably a loan-translation of Medieval Latin aqua vitae, which had been applied to intoxicating drinks since early 14c. (cf. French eau de vie "brandy"). Other early spellings in English include usquebea (1706) and iskie bae (1580s). Distinction between Scotch whisky and Irish and American whiskey is a 19c. innovation. Whisky sour is recorded from 1889.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper