Etymology
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whiskey (n.)
1715, from Gaelic uisge beatha "whisky," literally "water of life," from Old Irish uisce "water" (from PIE *ud-skio-, suffixed form of root *wed- (1) "water; wet") + bethu "life" (from PIE *gwi-wo-tut-, suffixed form of *gwi-wo-, from root *gwei- "to live").

According to Barnhart, the Gaelic is probably a loan-translation of Medieval Latin aqua vitae, which had been applied to intoxicating drinks since early 14c. (compare French eau de vie "brandy"). Other early spellings in English include usquebea (1706) and iskie bae (1580s). In Ireland and Scotland obtained from malt; in the U.S. commonly made from corn or rye. Spelling distinction between Scotch whisky and Irish and American whiskey is a 19c. innovation. Whisky sour is recorded from 1889.
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aqua vitae (n.)
also aqua-vitae, early 15c., Latin, literally "water of life," an alchemical term for unrefined alcohol. Applied to brandy, whiskey, etc. from 1540s. See aqua- + vital. Compare whiskey, also French eau-de-vie "spirits, brandy," literally "water of life."
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wh- 

respelling of Old English hw- attested from 11c., but not the common form until after c. 1400. It represents PIE *kw-; in German reduced to simple w-, in Scandinavian as hv-, kv-, or v-.

It also was added unetymologically to some borrowed words (whisk, whiskey) and some native words formerly spelled with simple w- or h- (whole, whore). In the 15c. flowering of its use it also threatened to change the spelling of hot, home and many more. In northern English 16c.-18c., sometimes altered to quh- (see Q). Proper pronunciation has been much in dispute in educated speech.

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*wed- (1)
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "water; wet."

It forms all or part of: abound; anhydrous; carbohydrate; clepsydra; dropsy; hydra; hydrangea; hydrant; hydrargyrum; hydrate; hydraulic; hydro-; hydrogen; hydrophobia; hydrous; Hydrus; inundate; inundation; kirsch-wasser; nutria; otter; redound; redundant; surround; undine; undulant; undulate; undulation; vodka; wash; water (n.1); wet; whiskey; winter.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite watar, Sanskrit udrah, Greek hydor, Old Church Slavonic and Russian voda, Lithuanian vanduo, Old Prussian wundan, Gaelic uisge "water;" Latin unda "wave;" Old English wæter, Old High German wazzar, Gothic wato "water."
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*gwei- 
also *gweie-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to live."

It forms all or part of: abiogenesis; aerobic; amphibian; anaerobic; azo-; azoic; azotemia; bio-; biography; biology; biome; bionics; biopsy; biota; biotic; cenobite; Cenozoic; convivial; couch-grass; epizoic; epizoon; epizootic; macrobiotic; Mesozoic; microbe; Protozoa; protozoic; quick; quicken; quicksand; quicksilver; quiver (v.) "to tremble;" revive; survive; symbiosis; viable; viand; viper; vita; vital; vitamin; victuals; viva; vivace; vivacious; vivarium; vivid; vivify; viviparous; vivisection; whiskey; wyvern; zodiac; Zoe; zoetrope; zoic; zoo-; zoolatry; zoology; zoon; zoophilia; zoophobia; zooplankton.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit jivah "alive, living;" Old Persian *jivaka- "alive," Middle Persian zhiwak "alive;" Greek bios "one's life, course or way of living, lifetime," zoe "animal life, organic life;" Old English cwic, cwicu "living, alive;" Latin vivus "living, alive," vita "life;" Old Church Slavonic zivo "to live;" Lithuanian gyvas "living, alive," gyvata "(eternal) life;" Old Irish bethu "life," bith "age;" Welsh byd "world."
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snort (n.)
1808, "act of snorting," from snort (v.). Meaning "a drink of liquor" (especially whiskey) is from 1889.
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boilermaker (n.)
also boiler-maker, "a maker of boilers for engines," 1814, from boiler (n.) + maker. Meaning "shot of whiskey with a glass of beer" is short for boilermaker's delight (1910), strong cheap whiskey, so called in jest from the notion that it would clean the scales from the interior of a boiler.
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rotgut (n.)

also rot-gut, "unwholesome liquor; cheap, adulterated whiskey," 1630s, from rot (v.) + gut (n.).

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Drambuie (n.)

1893, proprietary name of a whiskey liqueur manufactured in Scotland, said by the manufacturer to be from Gaelic dram buidheach, literally "satisfying drink."

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