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Eau de Vie

Brandy. A French translation of the Latin aqua vitæ (water of life). This is a curious perversion of the Spanish acqua di vitæ (water or juice of the vine), rendered by the monks into aqua vitæ instead of aqua vitis, and confounding the juice of the grape with the alchemists' elixir of life. The same error is perpetuated in the Italian acqua vite; the Scotch whisky, which is the Celtic uisc-lyf; and the Irish usquebaugh, which is the Gaelic and Irish uisgæ-beatha. (See Aqua Vitae.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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