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

The nose is woody, like pine -- and what has to be a first in my bourbon drinking experience -- cedar. Will Nevin,, "WW #100: Writer Eliot Rahal's 'Hot Lunch Special' more 'real' with story of family -- and crime," 15 May 2018 After the Trump administration imposed metals tariffs in Europe and elsewhere, the EU retaliated by placing tariffs on many U.S. products such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon. Riva Gold, WSJ, "The Scariest Place for Investors in a Trade War," 26 June 2018 So Kentucky bourbon, that's a gift for Mitch McConnell. Fox News, "Trump escalates trade war tensions with tariff threat," 24 June 2018 The performances unfold nightly in what is essentially a cozy living room with couches and playful cocktails like the Trans Am, made with Old Grand-Dad bourbon, Ilegal mezcal, Bénédictine and banana. Alia Akkam, Billboard, "Nashville Remastered: Five Renovated Landmarks Generating Excitement in Music City," 5 June 2018 The comments precede threatened tit-for-tat tariffs from the European Union on U.S. goods such as jeans, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon. Lindsey Rupp,, "Jeans-Maker Levi Strauss Laments Trump Tariffs' Threat to Denim," 31 May 2018 Woodford Spire Recipe Served in a copper julep cup, the Woodford Spire is a refreshing blend of bourbon, lemonade and cranberry juice. Lyndsey Matthews, Town & Country, "What Goes into Making Woodford Reserve's $1,000 Mint Julep for the Kentucky Derby," 3 May 2018 Poison Girl has an awesome selection of bourbon, which is my jam. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Bar Star: Alex Zuelke at Le Colonial," 2 May 2018 The European Union, in response, has threatened to put import taxes on American exports such as motorcycles, bourbon and blue jeans. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "Mike Pence calls trade deal 'fair' despite potential harm to Kentucky bourbon industry," 7 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

3 Oct 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

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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