an alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermentation from cereals, usually malted barley, and flavored with hops and the like for a slightly bitter taste.
any of various beverages, whether alcoholic or not, made from roots, molasses or sugar, yeast, etc.:
root beer; ginger beer.
an individual serving of beer; a glass, can, or bottle of beer:
We’ll have three beers.
Thomas, 1889–1940, U.S. author.
Contemporary Examples

Or that Dunn and a friend called the boy “an alcoholic” after they made him down the beer?
Lights, Camera, Cocktails Brody Brown October 21, 2011

What a difference six weeks, 1,400 miles, and a healthy dose of sunshine, beer, and BBQ make.
The Next Best Breakout Films Karina Longworth March 18, 2009

However, for the true Odessa experience, find a truck selling kvass, a traditional Russian beer brewed from bread.
Nine Amazing Places To Skinny Dip Around The World Erin Cunningham September 20, 2013

Finally, we find one woman, cutting the branches of a tree, a beer can in her hand.
Confessions of an Obama Volunteer Tom Shone November 3, 2008

This year, Battle has singlehandedly approved over 29,500 beer labels, the only fact his press handler would provide.
Meet the Beer Bottle Dictator Tim Mak August 11, 2014

Historical Examples

About eleven o’clock he went out with a jug to get some beer.
The Hypocrite Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull

While beer brings gladness, don’t forget That water only makes you wet!
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

He tossed the remainder of the beer into his throat, and set down the mug.
The Man with a Shadow George Manville Fenn

Over his schooner of beer K. gathered something of the story.
K Mary Roberts Rinehart

In an instant he was dripping with beer thrown at him—glass and all—by the irate Quell.
Visionaries James Huneker

an alcoholic drink brewed from malt, sugar, hops, and water and fermented with yeast Compare ale
a slightly fermented drink made from the roots or leaves of certain plants: ginger beer, nettle beer
(modifier) relating to or used in the drinking of beer: beer glass, beer mat
(modifier) in which beer is drunk, esp (of licensed premises) having a licence to sell beer: beer house, beer cellar, beer garden

Old English beor “strong drink, beer, mead,” a word of much-disputed and ambiguous origin, cognate with Old Frisian biar, Middle Dutch and Dutch bier, Old High German bior, German Bier.

Probably a 6c. West Germanic monastic borrowing of Vulgar Latin biber “a drink, beverage” (from Latin infinitive bibere “to drink;” see imbibe). Another suggestion is that it comes from Proto-Germanic *beuwoz-, from *beuwo- “barley.” The native Germanic word for the beverage was the one that yielded ale (q.v.).

Beer was a common drink among most of the European peoples, as well as in Egypt and Mesopotamia, but was known to the Greeks and Romans only as an exotic product. [Buck]

They did have words for it, however. Greek brytos, used in reference to Thracian or Phrygian brews, was related to Old English breowan “brew;” Latin zythum is from Greek zythos, first used of Egyptian beer and treated as an Egyptian word but perhaps truly Greek and related to zyme “leaven.” French bière is from Germanic. Spanish cerveza is from Latin cervesia “beer,” perhaps related to Latin cremor “thick broth.”

Old Church Slavonic pivo, source of the general Slavic word for “beer,” is originally “a drink” (cf. Old Church Slavonic piti “drink”). French bière is a 16c. borrowing from German. U.S. slang beer goggles, through which every potential romantic partner looks desirable, is from 1986.

Related Terms

cry in one’s beer, drink one’s beer, sling beer, small potatoes

well. (1.) A place where a well was dug by the direction of Moses, at the forty-fourth station of the Hebrews in their wanderings (Num. 21:16-18) in the wilderness of Moab. (See WELL.) (2.) A town in the tribe of Judah to which Jotham fled for fear of Abimelech (Judg. 9:21). Some have identified this place with Beeroth.


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