• An alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

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Example Sentences

“The hostess greeted her guests at the door with an apéritif.”

“The caterer’s menu included an apéritif served before dinner.”

“My favorite apéritif is an ice-cold gin martini.”

Word Origin

French, late 19th century

Why this word?

The noun “apéritif” is taken from the French adjective of the same spelling, meaning “stimulating appetite.” An apéritif is an alcoholic drink usually served before the meal to stimulate the appetite. Common apéritifs include vermouth, dry sherry, brandy, champagne, and gin. The apéritif tradition has been in Europe for centuries, but in America, the practice gained popularity in the 1970s and is better known as “happy hour.” An apéritif is served before a meal, and a digestif is served at the end of a meal. Instead of a dry cocktail, it’s usually a sweeter beverage, such as cognac, sweet sherry, or a liqueur. 

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