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See also: горилка



Alternative forms




Formed following the pattern of Polish gorzałka, and related to горі́ти (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:

  • горі́ле вино́ (horíle vynó, burnt wine)—compare archaic горѣ́лое вино́ (horíloe vynó).
  • горі́ла вода́ (horíla vodá) or *горі́лая вода́ (horílaja vodá, 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 gorzałka 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 горі́лка (horílka) comes from Russian горе́лка (gorélka) after the Polish example, rather than the reverse.

Old Ruthenian (Ukrainian/Belarusian) forms include горѣвка (horivka), attested from the 18th century, горѣлка (horělka), 1545/1539, горилка (horilka), 1562, and горѣлое вино (horěloje vino), 1507/1498.

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


  • IPA(key): [ɦoˈrʲiɫkɐ]
  • Audio:(file)



горі́лка (horílkaf inan (genitive горі́лки, nominative plural горі́лки or горілки́, genitive plural горі́лок or горіло́к, relational adjective горілча́ний, diminutive горі́лочка)

  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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See also