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

About 40,000 barrels of bourbon were in each warehouse. Author: Mike Stunson, Ryan Hermens, Anchorage Daily News, "Jim Beam warehouse holding 40,000 barrels of bourbon destroyed in fire," 3 July 2019 In 2018, about 18,000 barrels of bourbon were lost when a warehouse in Bardstown, Kentucky, collapsed during building work. Paul P. Murphy, CNN, "A Jim Beam warehouse filled with 40,000 barrels of bourbon caught fire," 3 July 2019 Castle and Key’s bourbon barrels are still aging and may not have their first batch until 2020. Carisha Swanson, House Beautiful, "5 Things You Must Do In Kentucky," 3 May 2019 Pour a generous 3 ounces of Kentucky bourbon over the ice. Esquire Editors, Esquire, "How to Make a Mint Julep," 8 Mar. 2018 The bar will feature tightly edited cocktail list focused on whiskey and bourbon with other craft liquors, beer, and wine (though nary a vodka in sight). Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails Opens at the Cosmopolitan," 20 Mar. 2019 Sure enough, a leading figure in the European Union on Friday discussed the possibility of taxing signature American products like Harley-Davidsons, Levi jeans, and bourbon. Evan Horowitz,, "Small effects, big risks come with Trump’s new trade tariffs," 2 Mar. 2018 Dark alcohols like red wine, whiskey, bourbon are also more likely to cause migraines than white wine, gin, or vodka, Dr. Newman says. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "12 Ways to Get Rid of a Headache Without Medicine," 23 May 2019 Duke fans, meanwhile, reached for the bourbon, tequila, and whatever else was nearby. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Yikes, His Nikes! Zion Williamson’s Sneaker Disaster," 21 Feb. 2019

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

11 Jul 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).


characterized by aphorism

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