bour·​bon | \ ˈbu̇r-bən How to pronounce bourbon (audio) , ˈbȯr-; usually ˈbər- in sense 3 How to pronounce bourbon (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Bourbon (audio) , 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 How to pronounce bourbonism (audio) , ˈbȯr-​ \ noun, often capitalized

Examples of bourbon in a Sentence


I prefer bourbon to Scotch.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But could other iconic European products like cognac—as French as bourbon is American—get caught up in the fray? Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Luxury Stocks Are Looking Expensive Even Without a Trade War," 20 July 2018 For the uninitiated, bourbon is a type of whiskey made from at least 51 percent corn and distilled in an oak barrel—or, rather, it's supposed to be. Shelbie Lynn Bostedt, RedEye Chicago, "Barley's Angels, Women Who Whiskey, Bourbon Women breaking stigma of a 'woman's palate'," 6 July 2017 To weaken America’s resolve, robust retaliation was threatened against American goods, from soyabeans to bourbon. The Economist, "When China and America spar over technology, it is about far more," 3 May 2018 Three-hour smoked chicken wings are grilled or fried and amped up with sauces, from lemon pepper to Sriracha bourbon. Julie Besonen, New York Times, "Art, Punk Rock and a New Governor Reinvigorate Trenton," 5 Apr. 2018 In cocktails, gin, rum, and tequila give way to bourbon. Micaela English, Town & Country, "24 Reasons Fall Is the Best Season," 28 Sep. 2016 In response to Trump’s tariffs, Europeans are targeting the most iconic American products, such as motorcycles, blue jeans, and bourbon. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "Why Harley-Davidson Is Moving Production Overseas," 26 June 2018 More: Harley-Davidson to move some motorcycle production out of US after EU tariffs The Europeans are targeting iconic U.S. products like motorcycles, blue jeans and bourbon in retaliation for Trump's tariffs on European steel and aluminum. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "Trump accuses Harley-Davidson of being 'first to wave the white flag' on trade," 25 June 2018 Saturday, March 24: Greater Cleveland Aquarium's Adult Swim series will feature whiskey and bourbon. Marc Bona,, "Wine calendar: Vaccaro's 'wallet-friendly dinner', The Wine Spot tastings, more," 20 Mar. 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

18 Apr 2019

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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

What made you want to look up bourbon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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