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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from bourbon


bourbonism \ ˈbu̇r-​bə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce bourbonism (audio) , ˈbȯr-​ \ noun, often capitalized

Examples of bourbon in a Sentence

Noun I prefer bourbon to Scotch.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cathy Barrow whipped up a batch of her Spicy Caramel Popcorn, with a splash of bourbon and chile paste, which is perfect for dishing out in socially distant single servings. The Washington Post, "Chat Transcript: The Food Team answers your questions on grilling, restaurants, this week's recipes and more!," 1 July 2020 Kahlua and rum are mainstays, but some bartenders mix things up with vodka, even bourbon. Kimberly Holland, Southern Living, "What is a Bushwacker? The Best Milkshake Cocktail Ever," 1 July 2020 Curbside was amazing, particularly at the beginning and having our bottle license really helped as people were buying whole bottles of bourbon. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "'Running a restaurant isn't glamorous.' How 3 Camp Taylor restaurants see their new normal," 30 June 2020 The $130 million distillery of Bulleit bourbon is expected to be fully operational in 2021. Washington Post, "Diageo goes green with carbon neutral distillery in Kentucky," 29 June 2020 Kristin also recessed her late father's bourbon cabinets into the wall to create a one-of-a-kind storage feature. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "The Final Reveals from the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge Offer So Much Interior Design Inspiration," 24 June 2020 In the past two years, America’s bourbon, rye whiskey and Tennessee whiskey makers have lost about $300 million in export revenues since getting pulled into the tit-for-tat tariff war between the United States and the E.U. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Did Trump’s latest Tweet just save the markets rally?," 23 June 2020 Exports to the European Union of bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey have declined by a third since a 25% tariff went into effect in June 2018, according to a report released Monday by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Hanna Ziady, CNN, "American whiskey distillers are down $340 million thanks to Trump's trade wars," 22 June 2020 Alter Ego has local beers on tap from breweries like Huss and Pedal Haus and will also use Copper City bourbon from Arizona Distilling Co. in their cocktails. Shaena Montanari, azcentral, "Tempe has a new restaurant and rooftop bar. Here's what to expect at Alter Ego and Alibi," 16 June 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of bourbon


1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bourbon


Bourbon, seigniory in France

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bourbon

Time Traveler for bourbon

Time Traveler

The first known use of bourbon was in 1596

See more words from the same year

Statistics for bourbon

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bourbon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bourbon


How to pronounce Bourbon (audio) How to pronounce Bourbon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bourbon

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bourbon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bourbon

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!