a place where liquors are sold to be consumed on the premises.
a public house for travelers and others; inn.

1250–1300; Middle English taverne < Old French < Latin taberna hut, inn, wine shop

tavernless, adjective

1. bar; pub. 2. hostelry. See hotel.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tavern (ˈtævən)
1.  a less common word for pub
2.  (US), (Eastern Canadian), (NZ) a place licensed for the sale and consumption of alcoholic drink
[C13: from Old French taverne, from Latin taberna hut]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

late 13c., "wine shop," later "public house" (mid-15c.), from O.Fr. taverne (1256) "shed made of boards, booth, stall," also "tavern, inn," from L. taberna "shop, inn, tavern," originally "hut, shed," possibly by dissimilation from *traberna, from trabs (gen. trabis) "beam, timber."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


an establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises. Tavern keeping has paralleled the growth of trade, travel, and industry throughout history and virtually worldwide. The Code of Hammurabi of ancient Babylonia (c. 1750 BC) provided that the death penalty could be imposed upon a proprietor for diluting beer. In ancient Greece the lesche, which was primarily a local club, served meals to strangers as well as to its local members. By the 5th century BC there were sumptuous Greek establishments called phatnai that served a local and transient clientele of traders, envoys, and government officials.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
She's gone off to see her aromatherapy expert, followed by a visit to a local
  tavern specializing in extra-large martinis.
These are not the typical rowdy drunken gamblers and their wenches revelling in
  the tavern.
Accordionist in a beer tavern among merry tourists from different countries.
Late one afternoon, desperate for companionship, she drove down the mountain to
  a neighborhood tavern.
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