\ ˈkwäf How to pronounce quaff (audio) , ˈkwaf How to pronounce quaff (audio) \
quaffed; quaffing; quaffs

Definition of quaff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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


plural quaffs

Definition of quaff (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : 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
2 : a hearty draft or gulp … a single sensuous quaff— James Villas He lifted his glass, took a large quaff of the wine, swallowed quickly in his urgency to keep talking.The Virginia Quarterly Review

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Other Words from quaff


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

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: Verb Some people want to keep their hair and their styles quaffed. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "Miko Branch Of Miss Jessie's Shares Her Top Tips For Winter Hair Care," 25 Oct. 2019 Expect everyone from business folks and out-of-town fans for Indians or Browns games to be quaffing Bloody Marys and waking up with coffee. Marc Bona, cleveland, "The Burnham: Northeast Ohio’s best weekend brunches, breakfasts," 19 Oct. 2019 As of 2018 the typical Estonian was quaffing 10.1 litres of pure alcohol per year—a bit below the Finns, who averaged 10.4. The Economist, "A populist party in Estonia pushes for cheaper booze," 26 Sep. 2019 There is only one thing to do, of course, when events threaten to overtake you — fire up the coffee kettle and quaff some cups of stimulation. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Pharmalittle: Roche suffers a setback in a cancer trial; Trump wants to shift Medicare B drugs to Part D," 10 May 2018 Then, on Friday, the Gemuetlichkeit games kick off the official start and the party doesn’t stop until the last pretzel is eaten and the last beer quaffed Sunday night. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Things to do this week in Cincinnati: Sept. 16-22," 16 Sep. 2019 But the place is more than just a pretty spot to quaff creative beers. Andre Meunier, oregonlive.com, "Experimentation, education served up in style at Labrewatory: Portland Breweries Series," 7 Aug. 2019 Mezcal, a globally popular spirit, can be quaffed in the villages where it is made. The Economist, "Can tourism boost one of Mexico’s poorest states?," 25 July 2019 Zimmerman provides plenty of pointers on how to start out with minimal equipment and end up with a boozy reward similar to what Leif Eriksen might have quaffed. Gemma Tarlach, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bounty of the bees extends far beyond honey for your tea - to lotions, balms and even drinks," 16 July 2019

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

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First Known Use of quaff


1534, in the meaning defined above


1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quaff


origin unknown

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Time Traveler for quaff

Time Traveler

The first known use of quaff was in 1534

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Last Updated

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Quaff.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quaffed. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for quaff


How to pronounce quaff (audio) How to pronounce quaff (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of quaff

old-fashioned + literary : to drink a large amount of (something) quickly

More from Merriam-Webster on quaff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quaff

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