Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
June 12th, 2016
Episode 553 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 12, 2016 is: quaff \KWAHF\ verb : to drink deeply Examples: The kids thoroughly enjoyed running a lemonade stand for the day, and weren't bothered in the least by the paltry profits that always result when the proprietors quaff most of the product. "Contrary to the time-honored campaign tradition of stopping at a local pub to quaff Budweiser with the after-work crowd, this cycle's candidates have gravitated toward local beer makers." — Matthew Osgood, The Atlantic, 8 May 2016 Did you know? 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.