ab·​sinthe | \ ˈab-(ˌ)sin(t)th How to pronounce absinthe (audio) \
variants: or less commonly absinth

Definition of absinthe

2 [borrowed from French absinthe, going back to Middle French, "wormwood," borrowed from Latin absinthium] : a green or sometimes colorless distilled liquor with high alcoholic content that is flavored with wormwood, anise, and other aromatic herbs (such as fennel) also : a similar liquor that is made without wormwood

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In 1797, Swiss Henri-Louis Pernod was the first to commercially produce an alcoholic drink from the bitter herb Artemisia absinthium, known commonly as wormwood. By the mid-to-late 1800s this bright green distillation, by then known in both French and English as "absinthe," had become wildly popular, especially among artists and writers, but it also had a reputation for making people a little wild. In fact, it was linked to several nasty disorders, including convulsions and foaming at the mouth. The accused culprit? A toxin in wormwood - perhaps the very chemical that gives the plant its tapeworm-exterminating properties (and thus its name). Because of these reported side effects of wormwood, true absinthe was banned in many countries (including the U.S.) in the early 1900s, but that didn't remove the taste for the drink. Wormwood’s name was later cleared (the real culprit turned out to be the drink’s high alcohol content) and the absinthe ban was lifted in the U.S. in 2007.

Examples of absinthe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Put the absinthe in a small spray bottle and mist the interior of the glass with a couple of sprays. Maureen Mackey, Fox News, 19 June 2022 Other cocktail options include approachable classics like a highball made with Botanist Gin, lime and a touch of California absinthe and a sidecar made with cognac and Alessio Bianco Vermouth. Andi Berlin, The Arizona Republic, 24 Nov. 2021 According to Craddock, a Tuxedo was now just gin and vermouth with a dash of absinthe. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 7 Oct. 2021 Grain spirits, vodka, gin, absinthe, beer, and more are offered at The Fils du Roy Distillery. BostonGlobe.com, 25 Aug. 2021 The Peychaud’s Bitters, all cherry and anise as opposed to Angostura Bitters’ cinnamon and clove, combines with the herbal pop of absinthe and the spicy backbone of the rye to create something wholly new. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 17 June 2021 Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto liqueur, champagne syrup, egg white, lemon juice and absinthe; $15). Ben Crandell, sun-sentinel.com, 17 June 2021 The fennel lends the herbaceous anise element the absinthe would have delivered, while the fresh cara cara orange juice ties all the flavors together with a spring-summer bow. Karla Alindahao, Forbes, 11 May 2021 The Morning Glory Fizz—scotch whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, an egg white, soda, plus a couple dashes of absinthe—is meant, without the slightest hint of irony, to welcome the day. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absinthe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of absinthe

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for absinthe

Middle English absinthe, borrowed from Latin absinthium, apsinthium "wormwood, infusion of wormwood," borrowed from Latin absinthium, apsinthium, borrowed from Greek apsínthion, of pre-Greek substratal origin

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The first known use of absinthe was in 1612

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absinthe oil

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Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Absinthe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absinthe. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for absinthe


variants: also absinth \ ˈab-​(ˌ)sin(t)th How to pronounce absinthe (audio) \

Medical Definition of absinthe

1 : wormwood
2 : a green liqueur flavored with wormwood or a substitute, anise, and other aromatics

More from Merriam-Webster on absinthe

Nglish: Translation of absinthe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about absinthe


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