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[lahy-bey-shuh n] /laɪˈbeɪ ʃən/
a pouring out of wine or other liquid in honor of a deity.
the liquid poured out.
Often Facetious.
  1. an intoxicating beverage, as wine, especially when drunk in ceremonial or celebrative situations.
  2. an act or instance of drinking such a beverage.
Origin of libation
1350-1400; Middle English libacio(u)n < Latin lībātiōn- (stem of lībātiō) a drink offering, equivalent to lībāt(us) (past participle of lībāre to pour; cognate with Greek leíbein) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
libational, libationary, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for libation


  1. the pouring out of wine, etc, in honour of a deity
  2. the liquid so poured out
generally (facetious) an alcoholic drink
Derived Forms
libational, libationary, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin lībātiō, from lībāre to pour an offering of drink
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for libation

late 14c., "pouring out of wine in honor of a god," from Latin libationem (nominative libatio) "a drink offering," noun of action from past participle stem of libare "pour out (an offering)," from PIE *(s)leib- "to pour, drop" (cf. Greek leibein "to pour, make a libation"), an enlargement of root *lei- "to pour, to flow" (cf. Sanskrit riyati "to let run;" Greek aleison "a wine vessel;" Lithuanian lieju "to pour," lytus "rain;" Hittite lilai- "to let go;" Albanian lyse, lise "a stream;" Welsh lliant "a stream, a sea," llifo "to flow;" Old Irish lie "a flood;" Breton livad "inundation;" Gaelic lighe "a flood, overflow;" Gothic leithu "fruit wine;" Old Church Slavonic liti, lêju, Bulgarian leja "I pour;" Czech liti, leji, Old Polish lić "to pour"). Transferred sense of "liquid poured out to be drunk" is from 1751. Related: Libations.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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