Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English distillen, from Old French distiller, from Latin distīllāre.


  • IPA(key): [dɪˈstɪɫ]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪl
  • Hyphenation: dis‧till


distill (third-person singular simple present distills, present participle distilling, simple past and past participle distilled)

  1. (transitive) To subject a substance to distillation.
  2. (intransitive) To undergo or be produced by distillation.
  3. (transitive) To make by means of distillation, especially whisky.
  4. (transitive) To exude in small drops.
    Firs distill resin.
  5. (transitive) To impart in small quantities.
  6. (transitive) To extract the essence of; concentrate; purify.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 5:
      But flowers distill'd though they with winter meet,
      Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter I, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384:
      Little disappointed, then, she turned attention to "Chat of the Social World," gossip which exercised potent fascination upon the girl's intelligence. She devoured with more avidity than she had her food those pretentiously phrased chronicles of the snobocracy [...] distilling therefrom an acid envy that robbed her napoleon of all its savour.
  7. (intransitive) To trickle down or fall in small drops; ooze out.
    • a. 1701, John Dryden, “The Epithalamium of Helen and Menelaus. From the 18th Idyllium of Theocritus.”, in The Miscellaneous Works of John Dryden, [], volume II, London: [] J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson, [], published 1760, OCLC 863244003, page 412:
      Balm, from a ſilver-box diſtill'd around, / Shall all bedew the roots, and ſcent the ſacred ground.
    • 1713, Alexander Pope, “Windsor-Forest. []”, in The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintot, [], published 1717, OCLC 43265629, page 52:
      In vain kind ſeaſons ſwell'd the teeming grain, / Soft ſhow'rs distill'd, and Suns grew warm in vain; / The ſwain with tears to beaſts his labour yields, / And famiſh'd dies amidſt his ripen'd fields.
    • 1614, Walter Ralegh [i.e., Walter Raleigh], The Historie of the World [], London: [] William Stansby for Walter Burre, [], OCLC 37026674, (please specify |book=1 to 5):
      The Euphrates [...]distilleth out of the mountains of Armenia.
  8. (intransitive, figuratively) To be manifested gently or gradually.
  9. (intransitive) To drip or be wet with.

Derived termsEdit