a small drink of alcoholic liquor taken to stimulate the appetite before a meal.
Also called apéritif wine. a wine served as an appetizer or cocktail.
an alcoholic drink, esp a wine, drunk before a meal to whet the appetite

1894, “alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite,” from French apéritif “laxative, laxative liqueur,” literally “opening,” from Latin aperitivus, from aperire “to open” (see overt). Cf. Middle English apertive (adj.), a medical word meaning “capable of opening or dilating” (pores, etc.), early 15c.

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