branch water

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Alternative forms[edit]


First recorded in 1835; the branch here is an american word for creek, a brook, a stream of clean drinkable water.[1]


branch water (uncountable)

  1. plain water, especially when mixed with alcoholic beverage.
    Pour me some bourbon and branch water.
    • 1958, The Blackfeet; Raiders on the Northwestern Plains, by John Canfield Ewers, page 258
      To make their beverage even more attractive, the Americans mixed their alcohol not only with the usual branch water, but also with black chewing tobacco, red peppers, Jamaica ginger, black molasses, and other strong substances.
    • 1960, Flying Magazine - May 1960 - "Doughnuts and Democracy" by Marion A. Wright, at Page 278
      I play no favorites as between coffee and tea-—I am a Bourbon and branch-water man myself—but I suggest that in History's long view the Greensboro Coffee Party may loom as large as the Boston Tea Party.
    • 1962, Joyleg, By Ward Moore, Avram Davidson, page 30
      Tully ordered Tennessee whisky, assented to the supposition that the gentleman didn't want mixer, ice, or chaser. "Yes sir — always say, If the good Lord wanted branch water in liquor, He would have put it there."


  1. ^ Dictionary of Americanisms: A glossary of words and phrases usually regarded as peculiar to the United States, by John Russell Bartlett, 1859, page 47