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fire +‎ water, a calque of Ojibwe ishkodewaaboo (alcohol), from ishkode (fire) + aaboo (liquid”, glossed in older works as “water).


firewater (countable and uncountable, plural firewaters)

  1. High proof alcohol, especially whiskey (especially in the context of its sale to or consumption by Native Americans).
    • 2012, Tom Lamont, How Mumford & Sons became the biggest band in the world (in The Daily Telegraph, 15 November 2012)[1]
      Four polite Englishmen in their middle 20s, feigning like firewater drunks in a Eugene O'Neill play: it's exactly the stuff that makes their detractors groan.
  2. High temperature hydraulic condensate discharged from industrial boilers.