or whis·ky

[ hwis-kee, wis- ]
/ ˈʰwɪs ki, ˈwɪs- /

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.

Nearby words

  1. whisk,
  2. whisk broom,
  3. whisker,
  4. whiskered,
  5. whiskery,
  6. whiskey jack,
  7. whiskey rebellion,
  8. whiskey sour,
  9. whisky,
  10. whisky mac

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

British Dictionary definitions for whiskey


/ (ˈwɪskɪ) /


the usual Irish and US spelling of whisky


/ (ˈwɪskɪ) /


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