• imbibe •
im-baib • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: 1. Drink, especially alcoholic beverages. 2. Absorb, assimilate, drink in, as seeds imbibe water or students imbibe knowledge.
Notes: If you wish to treat drinking lightly, use this verb in light-hearted situations. It comes with a noun, imbibition (which has an adjective, imbibitional) and an adjective of its own, imbibitive, as 'imbibitive habits'.
In Play: The literal sense of this word is the same as that of drink, but used jovially: "On all our cruises food is eaten, alcohol imbibed, shops toured, and art appreciated." You may also use today's word in the figurative sense of drink: "In order to speak a second language fluently, you must visit the country in which it is spoken and imbibe the culture."
Word History: Today's Good Word was taken from French (when it wasn't looking) imbiber "to soak, (slang) get sloshed". French inherited it directly from Latin imbibere "absorb, drink in, imbibe", an assimilated form of in- "in(to)" + bibere "to drink". Bibere can be traced back to PIE poi-/pei/pi- "drink" via these processes: the zero-grade form was first duplicated, pi-pê-o the second P was voiced for some reason, pi-bo (whence Russian pivo "beer"), the first P assimilated to B of the second syllable, giving bi-bo, and the French verbal endings added to this form. Russian pit' "to drink" (Poi! "Drink!") derives from the O-variant, poi, as does Modern French boire "to drink". Portuguese and Spanish beber "drink" and English beer come from the reduplicated form. (Today's is another extremely Good Word from long-time, much appreciated contributor Jackie Strauss of Philadelphia.)
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