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Formed following the pattern of Polish gorzałka, and related to горіти (horíty, to burn), from Old East Slavic горѣти (gorěti, to burn), from Proto-Slavic *gorěti (to burn), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷʰer-, *gʷʰor- (warm, hot).

It may be an abbreviation of a compound term, such as:

  • горіле вино (horíle vynó, burnt wine)—compare archaic горѣлое вино (horěloe vyno).
  • *горіла вода (horila voda) or *горілая вода (horilaja voda, burnt water)—compare Czech pálenka (brandy), from Old Czech palená voda (burnt water), and Hungarian pálinka from a similar Slavic origin.

Although there is no firm evidence, both горілка (horilka) and gorzalłka are thought to originate as calques after New High German Branntwein (brandy), from early New High German der brannte Wein (burnt wine) = later German der gebrannte Wein. Also compare English brandy, from brandywine, from Dutch brandewijn (burning wine).

There is also an unlikely theory that горілка (horilka) comes from Russian горелка (gorélka) after the Polish example, rather than the reverse.

Old Ukrainian forms include горѣвка (horěvka), attested from the 18th century, горѣлка (horělka), 1678, горилка (horylka), 1562, and горѣлое вино (horěloe vyno), 1511.

Also compare south Russian горелка (gorélka), Belarusian гарэлка (harèlka), Polish gorzałka, gorzała, Czech kořalka originating from Polish, dialectal Slovak goralka and goržolka also from Polish. Also English horilka or gorilka, by romanization.



горі́лка (horílkaf inan (genitive горі́лки, nominative plural горі́лки́)

  1. Any distilled alcoholic liquor: vodka, whisky, brandy, etc.
  2. Specifically, a clear distilled alcoholic liquor of Eastern European origin, made from grain mash, potatoes, or their peelings; vodka.
  3. Such a liquor of Ukrainian origin, as opposed to Russian or Polish vodka; horilka.



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