Words and Phrases
usquebaugh

“usquebaugh”

Meaning:

whisky

Alternative spelling/meaning:

usquebae

In Literature:

Excerpt from A Collection of Poems and Songs, on Rural Subjects, by Robert Huddleston

Gie me the Cork caver, wi’ mountain dew flavour,
The poteen tae drink, an’ my lassie alang;
Tho’ warls care may wreck me, it ne’er can heartbrack me,
Sae lang as the usquebaugh stifles my rang.
O! a toss o’ my head for a’ their state denties, &c.

(Belfast: J Smyth, 1844), ‘O! Whiskey My Darlin’, &c.’ p127.

Excerpt from Children of the Year: with other poems and songs by David Herbison

p.135: I find it still a soothing charm And sweet to a’ That never try their bluid to warm Wi’ usquebaugh.

p.180: …Of usquebaugh we’ll have a drop, Just what will make us cheery, A bed where we can take a nap, When sable clouds the mountains wrap And we’re of walking weary. …

(Belfast: Archer & Sons, 1876), ‘Tea’ p 135; ‘Invitation to Kitty Connor’ p 180.

Excerpt from Jabez Murdock: Poetaster and “Adjint”, a romance of South Down by Banna-Borka (T Fitzpatrick)

104: “I say, Murdock, where do you get this villainous stuff?” “Ah, noo, Maisther Swabby, dinna spak sae sair a’ the usquebaugh: it’s vara guid, I ween.”

105: “Noo, Maisther Swabby, I ken ye’re beginnin’ to like the poonch. It maks a mun cheery. Ye ken what Robbie Burns says – ‘Wi’ tippenny we fear nae evil; Wi’ usquebaugh we’d face the devil.’” “I know it. But if Burns had said – ‘For usquebaugh we gang t’ the devil,’ his metre might have been a little out, but he would have gained in veracity.”

106: “I’m sure the ’assity wudn’t make a man merry like the usquebaugh, at ony rate.”

200: “I have nothing to say against Burns. But I forgot that this is not a time for singing. You ought not to have forgotten that.” “Weel, maisther, ye ken the usquebaugh –” “And if it were singing it would be less matter.”

200: “Ah! then, Maisther Swabby, I see ye no like Burns.” The “usquebaugh” made Mr. Swabby wondrously candid. He replied – “I should have thought meanly enough of him, I admit, did I know him only from your rendering of his text.”

201: “… Try the usquebaugh – that’s one word I have learned from you. There’s more inspiration in the usquebaugh. Try ‘anither wee drappie,’ adjint, adjint! I forgot; that’s another term I have learnt since I came to know you.…” “I ken the usquebaugh’s good this nicht. It mak’s ye merry, I ken.”

202: “… Your duty is to – oh, what was I goin’ to say? – a plague on your usquebaugh! your duty is to – to – to – shield the rights of property; and to – to – to – I was goin’ to say something else – to stand by Law and Order. Confound your usquebaugh! Now the Orangemen are the only truly loyal subjects. The rank and file have no property; but they are always at the command of the landlords. That’s the beauty of it. That’s why an adjint ought to be an Orangeman. Here, anither wee drappie, and then I’ll go.”

234: “I didna gie ye ower mickle o’ the usquebaugh, I ween?”

238: “I’ll let ye hae a quart of the best usquebaugh if ye gang into the ‘Flake’s’ plan and banther him to fight ye ae roun’.”

(Dublin: James Duffy & Sons, 14 & 15 Wellington Quay; 1888) Vol. II, pp 104, 105, 106, 200, 201, 202, 234, 238. Although set in County Down, the dialogue varies between Standard English (for the “establishment” figures), Northern Hiberno-English (for the “native Irish” characters), and Ulster-Scots, of a sort, for the eponymous Jabez.

Excerpt from Miscellaneous Poems by Francis Boyle by Francis Boyle

Ere he gaed out to theek wat strae,
He teuk a glass o’ Usquebae,
But wadna waste his time on tea,
But just three fills;
Ae British shillin’ ilka day,
Just pleas’t Ned Mills.

(Belfast, 1811), printed by D & S Lyons, Corn-market, ‘Elegy on the Death of Edward Mills’ p 53.

Excerpt from The Poetical Works of Thomas Beggs: Miscellaneous Pieces by Thomas Beggs

Ye mind the time, sae weel ye may, The merry time an’ true, When Loudy sauld the usquebaugh, We drank till we were fu’;

(Ballyclare: S Corry, c.1869), ‘Whar Loudy Live’d Langsyne’ p 67.


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