Uisce beatha

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Uisce beatha (Irish pronunciation: [ˈɪʃkʲə ˈbʲahə]) is the name for whiskey in Irish. The equivalent in Scottish Gaelic is rendered uisge-beatha.[1] The word "whisky" (as spelt in Scotland) or "whiskey" (as spelt in Ireland) itself is simply an anglicised version of this phrase,[2] stemming from a mispronunciation of the word uisce in Ireland or uisge in Scotland. It should be remembered that Irish and Scots Gaelic developed as unwritten languages and had no standard spelling until more modern times so the difference in spelling likely has little to do with mispronunciation; though according to the Whiskey Museum in Dublin, Ireland, the different spelling began as a marketing decision (for increased pricing) - other companies followed the trend. This development may in turn have influenced the Modern Irish word fuisce ("whiskey"). The phrase uisce beatha, literally "water of life", was the name given by Irish monks of the early Middle Ages to distilled alcohol. It is simply a translation of the Latin aqua vitae.[3]


  1. ^ "whisky [ˈwɪskɪ]". www.thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Uisge beatha". www.whiskymag.com. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "UISGE! Home of Whisky". uisge.com/. Retrieved 17 November 2012.