bour·​bon | \ˈbu̇r-bən, ˈbȯr-; usually ˈbər-in sense 3 \

Definition of bourbon 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : a member of a French family founded in 1272 to which belong the rulers of France from 1589 to 1793 and from 1814 to 1830, of Spain from 1700 to 1808, from 1814 to 1868, from 1875 to 1931, and from 1975, of Naples from 1735 to 1805, and of the Two Sicilies from 1815 to 1860

2 [ Bourbon (now Réunion), French island in the Indian Ocean ] : a rose (Rosa borboniana) of upright growth with shining leaves, prickly branches, and clustered large flowers

3 [ Bourbon County, Kentucky ] : a whiskey distilled from a mash made up of not less than 51 percent corn plus malt and rye — compare corn whiskey

4 often capitalized : a person who clings obstinately to old social and political ideas specifically : an extremely conservative member of the U.S. Democratic party usually from the South


biographical name
Bour·​bon | \ˈbu̇r-bən, bu̇r-ˈbōⁿ\

Definition of Bourbon (Entry 2 of 2)

Charles de 1490–1527 Duc de Bourbon French general; constable of France

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Other Words from bourbon


bourbonism \ˈbu̇r-​bə-​ˌni-​zəm, ˈbȯr-​ \ noun often capitalized

Examples of bourbon in a Sentence


I prefer bourbon to Scotch.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Next up, bona fide country man Chris Stapleton — whose band featured Nashville superproducer Dave Cobb — wowed the pro-country crowd with his thick-and-rich baritone as sweetly rugged as a bourbon barrel stave. Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times, "Review: Joe Walsh’s VetsAid was a familial star-powered party at Tacoma Dome, raising $1.2 million," 12 Nov. 2018 Over Father’s Day weekend, the package also includes a complimentary flight of bourbons. Jessica Colley Clarke, New York Times, "Four Father’s Day Getaways Worth Taking," 22 May 2018 Investigators say he was coerced to drink an entire bottle of bourbon. Washington Post, "Felony hazing charges," 21 May 2018 At the bar, tap cocktails, draft beers and an array of bourbons. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Great Milwaukee restaurants for a first date or anniversary," 6 Feb. 2018 In a second bowl, whisk molasses, corn syrup, and bourbon. Woman's Day Test Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Thanksgiving Cake," 24 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile, prepare bourbon-caramel sauce: In medium saucepan, combine sugar, lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Tiffani Thiessen, Good Housekeeping, "Brioche Bread Pudding with Bourbon-Caramel Sauce," 9 Oct. 2018 Kentucky distillers produce about 95 percent of the world's bourbon supply, the association said. Bruce Schreiner, Fox News, "Kentucky bourbon inventory at highest level since 1972," 27 Sep. 2018 Gin doesn’t age in barrels like bourbon or Scotch, picking up golden color and rich characteristics from wood. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "The Mysteries of Gin Revealed," 10 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bourbon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bourbon


1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bourbon


Bourbon, seigniory in France

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Dictionary Entries near bourbon







Bourbon cotton

Statistics for bourbon

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for bourbon

The first known use of bourbon was in 1596

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English Language Learners Definition of bourbon

: a type of American whiskey made from corn, malt, and rye

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Spanish Central: Translation of bourbon

Nglish: Translation of bourbon for Spanish Speakers

Comments on bourbon

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living or existing for a long time

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