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Etymology 1[edit]

Uncertain. Suggestions include connection with Old Irish cuäch (cup, goblet, bowl; cauldron, large vessel; bowl, cup) (whence Scots quaich, queff). The noun is derived from the verb.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /kwɒf/
  • (US) IPA(key): /kwɑf/, /kwɔf/
  • (dated) IPA(key): /kwæf/, /kwɑːf/[1]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒf


quaff (third-person singular simple present quaffs, present participle quaffing, simple past and past participle quaffed)

  1. To drink or imbibe with vigour or relish; to drink copiously; to swallow in large draughts. [from mid-16th c.]
    I can't believe you quaffed four pints of beer and could still drive!
    • c. 1590–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii]:
      Please ye we may contrive this afternoon, / And quaff carouses to our mistress' health
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book V”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC:
      They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
      Quaff immortality and joy []
    • 1823, Mary Shelley, Valperga:
      Sometimes the memory of her peaceful life at Florence obtruded itself upon her, and more than that, her charitable occupations when she attended the sick in that city, and whence, as from a rough-hewn chalice containing nectarian drink, she had quaffed happiness.
    • 1845 February, — Quarles [pseudonym; Edgar Allan Poe], “The Raven”, in The American Review[2], volume I, number II, New York, N.Y., London: Wiley & Putnam, [], →OCLC:
      Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!
    • 1852, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dr. Heidegger's Experiment:
      Even while quaffing the third draught of the Fountain of Youth, they were almost awed by the expression of his mysterious visage.
    • 2017 December 21, Gabriel Sherman, ““I Have Power”: Is Steve Bannon Running for President?”, in Vanity Fair[3]:
      Bannon was padding around the room in a black blazer over two collared shirts, quaffing a can of Pocari Sweat, a popular Japanese energy drink.
    • 2022 November 30, Paul Bigland, “Destination Oban: a Sunday in Scotland”, in RAIL, number 971, page 74:
      If you're of a mind, the work can be observed while quaffing a pint in the Rat Race pub in the old station buildings on the existing platform.
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quaff (plural quaffs)

  1. The act of quaffing; a deep draught. [from late 16th c.]

Etymology 2[edit]



  1. Misspelling of coif.
    • 1953 July, Theodore Sturgeon, “The World Well Lost”, in Universe Science Fiction, number 1, page 16; reprinted as “The World Well Lost”, in Thomas N. Scortia, editor, Strange Bedfellows: Sex and Science Fiction, New York: Random House, Inc, 1972, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 56:
      There were loverbird songs and loverbird trinkets, loverbird hats and pins, bangles and baubles, coins and quaffs and tidbits.
    • 2013 June 19, Sarah Romanowski, “status update”, in Twitter[4]:
      I'm actually gonna miss @sreizis and seeing him and his perfectly groomed quaff everyday in every class.
    • 2014 January 19, Ryan Arciero, “Miley Cyrus new hair: Bowl cut a fresh style for singer, mixed reactions so far”, in Examiner.com[5]:
      The Miley Cyrus new hair photos reveal the former Hannah Montana star sporting a bowl cut of sorts that isn’t receiving all good news at this point. Cyrus revealed her new quaff this Tuesday with friends while relaxing outside a local Los Angeles recording studio.


  1. ^ Jespersen, Otto (1909) A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles (Sammlung germanischer Elementar- und Handbücher; 9)‎[1], volume I: Sounds and Spellings, London: George Allen & Unwin, published 1961, § 10.95, page 317.