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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ A libation of orange juice poured out on the ground to the memory of Uncle Max, that's all.
▪ Eventually, inextremis, I poured the appropriate libations and: it worked - or seemed to.
▪ Its ancestors haunt the mixing bowl, stirred to a gallop by the wooden spoon and libations of flour and milk.
▪ Often they offer libations to the ancestral gods and cleanse themselves.
▪ The oblations included, in addition to the animal offering, a cake of flour and oil and a libation of wine.
▪ Then I raise my glass and offer a libation to my beloved.
▪ Then Olivia and her brother, dressed in their priestly robes, pour libations into the holy well.
▪ Thus bribed, the media steadily worked their way through mountains of free food and the occasional libation.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Libation \Li*ba"tion\ (l[-i]*b[=a]"sh[u^]n), n. [L. libatio, fr. libare to take a little from anything, to taste, to pour out as an offering: cf. F. libation.] The act of pouring a liquid or liquor, usually wine, either on the ground or on a victim in sacrifice, in honor of some deity; also, the wine or liquid thus poured out.

A heathen sacrifice or libation to the earth.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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" (source of Greek leibein "to pour, make a libation"), an enlargement of root *lei- "to pour, to flow" (cognates: 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.


n. 1 The act of pouring a liquid or liquor, usually wine, either on the ground or on a victim in sacrifice, in honor of some deity. 2 The wine or liquid thus poured out. 3 (context often humorous English) A beverage, especially an alcoholic one.

  1. n. (facetious) a serving of an alcoholic beverage

  2. a serving (of wine) poured out in honor of a deity

  3. the act of pouring a liquid offering (especially wine) as a religious ceremony


A libation is a ritual pouring of a liquid (or other fluid such as corn flour or rice) as an offering to a god or spirit, or in memory of those who have "passed on". It was common in many religions of antiquity and continues to be offered in various cultures today.

Various substances have been used for libations, most commonly wine or olive oil, and in India, ghee. The vessels used in the ritual, including the patera, often had a significant form which differentiated them from secular vessels. The libation could be poured onto something of religious significance, such as an altar, or into the earth.

In East Asia, pouring an offering of rice into a running stream, symbolises the unattachment from karma and bad energy.

Usage examples of "libation".

With these words I drew her towards me, and finding her as gentle as a lamb and as loving as a dove, the amorous sacrifice was offered with abundant libations on both sides.

President of the Convention, Herault de Sechelles, drank this republican libation from a custom-designed goblet which he raised to the assembled crowd in salutation.

Not long after they mixed libations in honour of Zeus, with pious rites as is customary, and poured them upon the burning tongues, and bethought them of sleep in the darkness.

You shall have to drink your celebratory libations straight from the bottle like the barbarian that you are.

Or, dumb with ignominy Like that with which he perished, shall I pour Libations on the earth, and like a man That flings away the lustral filth, shall I Throw down the urn and walk with eyes not turned?

The son alone by the offering of the Sraddha, or libation for the dead, can obtain rest for the departed spirit of the father.

Vietnamese were firing off fireworks to celebrate Tet, celebrating with libations.

Winterbones, when the above ill-natured allusion was made to the aroma coming from his libations, might be seen to deposit surreptitiously beneath the little table at which he sat, the cup with which he had performed them.

When she came back with it I had her hold one side of the mug, I held the other, and together we poured it overside as a libation to the Commodore.

Fish blood was a libation spilt across his patha terrible, terrible omen.

And now I bid you propitiate him with the steam of sacrifice and libations.

Mopsus, son of Ampycus, with word of prophecy urged them to land and propitiate him with libations.

The pure and sublime idea which they entertained of the Supreme Being escaped the gross conception of the Pagan multitude, who were at a loss to discover a spiritual and solitary God, that was neither represented under any corporeal figure or visible symbol, nor was adored with the accustomed pomp of libations and festivals, of altars and sacrifices.

Oeneus of Calydon, in gratitude for an abundant harvest, offered the firstfruits of the grain to Ceres and the first squeezings of his grapes to Bacchus and poured out a libation of her oil, as golden as her hair is, to Minerva.

Chapter 6 Containing, among other things, the ingenuity of Partridge, the madness of Jones, and the folly of Fitzpatrick It was now past five in the morning, and other company began to rise and come to the kitchen, among whom were the serjeant and the coachman, who, being thoroughly reconciled, made a libation, or, in the English phrase, drank a hearty cup together.