Aquavit – Definition & Meaning

Aquavit is a traditional Scandinavian spirit that has been around for centuries. It is a clear, high-proof liquor that is flavored with a variety of herbs and spices, most commonly caraway. Aquavit is often enjoyed as a traditional accompaniment to pickled herring, but it can also be used in cocktails and other mixed drinks. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of aquavit, its origin, and its associations.


Aquavit is defined as a clear, high-proof liquor that is flavored with herbs and spices, particularly caraway. It is also known as akvavit, akevitt, or snaps. The name aquavit comes from the Latin words aqua vitae, which means “water of life.”


Aquavit has been around for centuries and has its roots in Scandinavia. The earliest known mention of aquavit dates back to the 16th century, when it was used as a medicinal tonic. Over time, it became a popular drink in its own right, particularly in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, aquavit is “a Scandinavian spirit flavored with caraway or other spices.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “a Scandinavian liquor flavored with caraway or dill.” The Cambridge Dictionary describes it as “a strong alcoholic drink from Scandinavia that is flavored with herbs, especially caraway seeds.”


Aquavit is often associated with Scandinavian culture and traditions. It is a popular drink during holidays and celebrations, particularly Christmas and Midsummer. In Norway, aquavit is often enjoyed as part of a traditional meal of lutefisk (dried cod) and potatoes. In Sweden, it is often served with pickled herring.


Synonyms for aquavit include akvavit, akevitt, and snaps.


As aquavit is a specific type of liquor, there are no true antonyms for it. However, other types of liquor, such as whiskey or rum, could be considered antonyms in the sense that they are different types of alcoholic beverages.

The same root words

The Latin root words for aquavit, aqua vitae, are also used in other languages to describe strong alcoholic beverages. For example, in French, the term eau de vie (water of life) is used to describe a type of clear brandy.

Example Sentences

  • I tried aquavit for the first time at a Scandinavian restaurant and loved the unique flavor.
  • My grandfather always enjoyed a glass of aquavit with his pickled herring.
  • The bartender recommended an aquavit-based cocktail that was both refreshing and flavorful.
  • I brought a bottle of aquavit back from my trip to Norway as a souvenir.
  • The traditional Scandinavian toast is skål, and it is often accompanied by a shot of aquavit.
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