E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Aqua Vitæ [water of life].
Certain ardent spirits used by the alchemists. Ben Jonson terms a seller of ardent spirits an aqua-vitæ man (Alchemist, i. 1). The elixir of life was made from distilled spirits, which were thought to have the power of prolonging life. (See EAU-DE-VIE.)