1 of 2


quaffed; quaffing; quaffs

transitive + intransitive

: to drink (a usually alcoholic beverage) heartily or copiously
At Fort William, goods were exchanged, bills were tallied, brandy was quaffed, songs were sung.Will Ferguson
Young Cheltenham ladies and gentlemen in striped shirts and Barbours quaffed their drinks and guffawed loudly.John Ayto
quaff a flagon of nut-brown ale …William Thackeray
… curled up on her couch, wearing lounge pants, quaffing her third glass of wine …Nathan Heller
… and in the chimney-corner, they all four quaffed, and smoked, and prosed, and dozed, as they had done of old.Charles Dickens
quaffing from massive steins of German beer while chatting it up with new friends.Jeanne Potter
quaffing adjective
It's a quaffing [=quaffable] wine, one that you drink rather than sip attentively as you might a more complex red … Barbara Ensrud


2 of 2


plural quaffs
: an enjoyable beverage : a beverage (such as wine) that is quaffed or suitable for quaffing
This pleasant quaff offers ripe peach and vanilla flavors and a good balance of bright acidity and moderate sweetness.Wine Spectator
… there is no better quaff with fried chicken than Champagne.Florence Fabricant
: a hearty draft or gulp
… a single sensuous quaffJames Villas
He lifted his glass, took a large quaff of the wine, swallowed quickly in his urgency to keep talking.The Virginia Quarterly Review

Did you know?

Quaff and Slug

Nowadays, quaff has an old-fashioned, literary sound to it. For more contemporary words that suggest drinking a lot of something, especially in big gulps and in large quantity, you might try drain, pound, or slug. If you are a daintier drinker, you might say that you prefer to sip, imbibe or partake in the beverage of your choice. Quaff is by no means the oldest of these terms—earliest evidence of it in use is from the early 1500s, whereas sip dates to the 14th century—but it is the only one with the mysterious "origin unknown" etymology.

Examples of quaff in a Sentence

Verb We stopped at a bar and quaffed a few beers. after digging our car out of the snowdrift, we were ready to quaff some hot chocolate
Recent Examples on the Web
Mead, the honey wine now consumed out of ironic drinking horns and paired with anachronistic vape pens at countless Renaissance fairs, was made and quaffed thousands of years B.C. M. Carrie Allan, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2024 Guests, who paid $17,000 per couple to get a seat at the proceedings, were able to bid while quaffing some of the world’s finest wines. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 29 Jan. 2024 Celebrities, chefs, celebrity chefs and guests noshed and quaffed at the 11th annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade Stand benefit Saturday at UCLA, which raised more than $1.4 million for childhood cancer research. Pat Saperstein, Variety, 26 Sep. 2023 But ancient cave dwellers weren’t sitting around the fire quaffing crisp lagers and hazy IPAs. Leslie Shapiro, Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2023 Although it’s not easily noticed when quaffing a brew, Berkeley’s yeast strains have brought about perhaps the biggest shift in brewing since the now iconic Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy hops took off in the 2010s. Anna Kramer, WIRED, 18 July 2023 He’s quaffed everything from seafood ramen soda from Japan to caramel apple soda from Texas. Hallie Lieberman, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 June 2023 Inside, drinkers at long tables quaff creative beers brewed on premises (7.75 dollars a pint). Remy Scalza, New York Times, 25 May 2023 Literate chimps urged us to quaff more of it. Will Noble, CNN, 10 June 2021
Medium bodied and a little glycerol on the palate, this is a little more structured to go with food, but uncomplicated enough for a simple quaff. Lana Bortolot, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 The spirits here are clearly the star of the show, but the Vault offers a minimal food service to accompany its quaffs. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 30 Aug. 2023 Serve chilled or over ice for the most refreshing quaff. Alisha McDarris, Popular Science, 2 Aug. 2023 Good works directly with the Colombian Coffee Federation to compensate farmers for their fruit waste before concentrating it and shipping it to its distillery in New York, where it is then magically transformed into this delicious quaff. Treehugger Editors, Treehugger, 29 June 2023 Still, there’s something about the idea of a boozy drink made with a kids’ quaff that feels transgressive, like giving a child candy cigarettes (which, shockingly, still exist?). Emily Heil, Washington Post, 15 May 2023 As if by magic, this quaff delivers everything there is to love about whiskey, but without the booze or harsh burning sensation. Allison Robicelli, Washington Post, 4 May 2023 Juicy strawberries, wild herbs and a saline minerality combine for a refreshing, even invigorating quaff. Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2021 Small distilleries like Empirical Spirits are working on uncategorizable drinks made of stuff like plum pits, for the resilient quaff of tomorrow. Adam Rogers, Wired, 2 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quaff.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



origin unknown

First Known Use


1534, in the meaning defined above


1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of quaff was in 1534


Dictionary Entries Near quaff

Cite this Entry

“Quaff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quaff. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to drink freely
quaff noun
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!