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

Definition of quaff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


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 Atlanta Braves backers quaff four drinks a game and spend $32. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Which city’s baseball fans drink the most? Study breaks down imbibing habits," 23 Mar. 2021 Visitors can also take a seat near one of the heaters and try a mystery shot served in an ice glass, or quaff a tap beer. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Food and drink news: Purple Door ice cream sundae kits, Indeed Brewing CBD seltzer," 14 Jan. 2021 The food-shaming phenomenon isn’t unique to U.S. politics: The French have their gauche caviar (the caviar left) and the Brits their champagne socialists, or as they’re sometimes called, Bollinger Bolsheviks, a reference to a pricey, bubbly quaff. Washington Post, "Move over, ‘latte liberal.’ A new GOP insult invokes goat milk and avocado toast.," 15 Nov. 2019 Characters who are dead in one episode turn up in the next, cheerfully quaffing, wenching, or otherwise being very much not dead. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "Why The Witcher Is Better Than Game of Thrones," 1 Jan. 2020 The last prime rib has been roasted, the last potato pancake fried up, the last eggnog quaffed. Katie Workman, NBC News, "8 tips to make weeknight dinner more doable in 2020," 9 Jan. 2020 All these folk could have quaffed their Frappuccino® Blended Beverage or their iced teas directly from the plastic cup, of course. The Economist, "The World in 2020 Farewell to Starbucks’s green straws," 31 Dec. 2019 That is why, a century after Schweppes’s innovation, to quaff a gin-and-tonic on a summer’s day, in the well-to-do shires of England, was no less nostalgic than refreshing. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Intoxicating History of Gin," 2 Dec. 2019 Before downing a pregame plate of eggs and pancakes, the Bruins winger strolled into TD Garden quaffing an iced coffee, looking slick in a salmon suit, white shirt, and black tie. BostonGlobe.com, "“It’s always nice. That’s what I’m getting paid for,” said Pastrnak, who moved into second place in the NHL in goals (six, tied with Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Detroit’s Anthony Mantha; Edmonton’s James Neal has seven).," 15 Oct. 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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Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quaff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quaff. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for quaff



English Language Learners Definition of quaff

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

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quaff

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