bour·​bon ˈbu̇r-bən How to pronounce bourbon (audio)
usually in sense 3
ˈbər- How to pronounce bourbon (audio)
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
: a rose (Rosa borboniana) of upright growth with shining leaves, prickly branches, and clustered large flowers
: a whiskey distilled from a mash made up of not less than 51 percent corn plus malt and rye compare corn whiskey
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
bourbonism noun often capitalized

Examples of bourbon in a Sentence

I prefer bourbon to Scotch.
Recent Examples on the Web This is certainly a Little Book release for diehard rye fans, and maybe is not going to appeal to those who prefer the sweeter character typically associated with bourbon. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 16 May 2024 Goodland Extracts plans to make other THC spirits, with a tequila and bourbon in the works. Jordyn Noennig, Journal Sentinel, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for bourbon 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bourbon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


(sense 1) after the lordship of Bourbon in central France, where the family originated; (sense 2) after French rose de Bourbon, after the Île Bourbon (now réunion), where the rose likely originated; (sense 3) probably after Bourbon County, Kentucky, or its pre-statehood predecessor, a county of Virginia that included much of northeastern Kentucky; (sense 4) after the association of the Bourbon dynasty with conservative royalist politics in France

First Known Use

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bourbon was in 1596

Dictionary Entries Near bourbon

Cite this Entry

“Bourbon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Bour·​bon ˈbu̇r-bən How to pronounce Bourbon (audio)
Charles de 1490–1527 Duc de Bourbon French general; constable of France

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