The word slivovitz is a borrowing from a shared Slavic word for plum or (more specifically) for damson plum: Croatian: šljiva, Serbian: šljiva/шљива – damson plum, Czech: slíva, Polish: śliwka or Slovak: slivka + postfix -vice or -vica /vɪtsa/ to indicate the food from which it was distilled. For example, Czech meruňka apricot → meruňkovice apricot brandy; broskev peach → broskvovice peach brandy.
Following the claims of several nations to the protected designation of origin, in October 2007 the European Union went for a compromise solution, leaving "slivovitz" as a generic name, and granting individual nations the right to protect the origin with their own adjective.
In respective languages, Slivovitz (//) is known as Bulgarian: сливова, сливовица, Croatian: šljivovica, Czech: slivovice, German: Sliwowitz, Slibowitz, Hungarian: sligovica, Italian: slivovitz, Macedonian: сливова, Polish: śliwowica, Romanian: şliboviţă, Russian: сливовица, Serbian: šljivovica / шљивовица, Slovak: slivovica, Slovene: slivovka, Ukrainian: слив'янка, Yiddish: שליוואָוויץ
During the production process, the plums and their ground kernels are crushed and pressed; yeast, starch, and sugar may be added to the juice. The mixture is then allowed to ferment. There may be one or more distillation stages, depending on the desired final product or region of production, and aging is common to enhance the distillate's finer flavours.