The word whiskey or whisky is the English equivalent of the Goidelic name (Irish: uisce beatha and Scottish Gaelic: uisge beatha) literally meaning “water of life”. Earlier anglicizations include usquebaugh, usquebea (1706) and iskie bae (1583). It has the same meaning as the Latin aqua vītae (an archaic name for a concentrated aqueous solution of ethanol), which was applied to distilled drinks since the early 14th century.
In the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise in 1405, the first written record of whiskey appears describing the death of a chieftain at Christmas from “taking a surfeit of aqua vitae”. In Scotland, the first evidence of whisky production comes from an entry in the Exchequer Rolls for 1494 where malt is sent “To Friar John Cor, by order of the king, to make aquavitae”.