There are many words we use for beer: ale, brew, lager, malt, suds, brewski, brown bottle, draught…
The list goes on.
But why is beer called beer? Where did the word come from?
Beer is considered to come from the Latin infinitive bibere meaning “to drink.”
But there is other speculation. Some experts think that the word for beer comes from the Proto-Germanic word beuwoz-, derived from beuwo– meaning “barley.”
Latin or Proto-Germanic, variations grew from these dead language roots. Old English said beor meaning “strong drink, beer, mead.” Old Frisian said boar, Middle Dutch, Dutch and German said bier, and Old High German said bior. Now the French say bière, the Italians say birra, and the Turkish say bira.
The word for beer wasn’t always in use. After the Norman Conquest, the word fell out of Old English. That’s because the Old English word for ale became standard for the drink. It was revived centuries later to specifically reference hopped malt beverages.
Today, most Western European—and even some Eastern European—languages use a form similar to the English word for beer.
What’s your favorite synonym for beer? Share the way you say beer below.