tav·​ern | \ ˈta-vərn \

Definition of tavern

1 : an establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold to be drunk on the premises
2 : inn

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for tavern


bar, barroom, café (also cafe), cantina [Southwest], dramshop, gin mill, grogshop [chiefly British], pub, public house [chiefly British], saloon, taproom, watering hole, watering place

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of tavern in a Sentence

a seedy section of the city's waterfront that was rife with cheap taverns, tattoo parlors, and run-down flophouses a colonial-era tavern that has been serving weary travelers for two and a half centuries

Recent Examples on the Web

Graham Snyder was in charge of the tavern’s daily operations, but his father was an adviser and helped embed the Red Robin culture. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "Red Robin CEO Urged Employees to Find Their Own Ways to Please Customers," 14 Dec. 2018 The chef for the breakfast tavern is Joe Singer, who most recently was the banquet chef at Bass Bay Brewhouse in Muskego and has worked at Blue’s Egg and Maxie’s. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As opening of Uncle Wolfie's Breakfast Tavern nears, a pop-up previews the menu," 25 May 2018 The writers converge primarily at another Currence establishment, City Grocery, a tavern where bartenders remember your name, shake your hand, and know your drink. Chris Offutt, Town & Country, "A Writer's Guide to Oxford, Mississippi," 22 Nov. 2013 Nine people were arrested after a black disc jockey playing at a Lynnwood tavern early Saturday was physically attacked in a melee in which racial slurs were used. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "DJ at Lynnwood tavern attacked; 9 arrested in melee involving racial slurs," 8 Dec. 2018 From recreations of 18th-century taverns to the famed Liberty Bell, Philadelphia is a must-see for anyone who loves the red, white, and blue. Juliet Izon, Country Living, "7 Patriotic Sights to Take In on the Ultimate Philadelphia Road Trip," 15 Nov. 2018 The larger structure on the site's south end will likely be a restaurant and tavern with a gaming or entertainment use. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Lowe's store on Milwaukee's north side rezoned for possible distribution center," 7 May 2018 Witnesses later said a man, since identified as William Szepi, was trying to help the bouncers who were escorting people out of the tavern. Katherine Rosenberg-douglas, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago cop arrested on suspicion of pulling a gun outside Rosemont tavern," 24 June 2018 Marla and David Poytinger, the owners of the mini-golf tavern Nine Below, plan to open the new ax-throwing bar at 1924 E. Kenilworth Place on Milwaukee's east side. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ax-throwing bar makes the cut with the Milwaukee Licenses Committee," 6 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tavern.' 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 tavern

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tavern

Middle English taverne, from Anglo-French, from Latin taberna hut, shop

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tavern

Dictionary Entries near tavern






tavern car


Statistics for tavern

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tavern

The first known use of tavern was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tavern



English Language Learners Definition of tavern

: a place where alcoholic drinks are served

: a building that provides lodging and food for people who are traveling


tav·​ern | \ ˈta-vərn \

Kids Definition of tavern

1 : a place where beer and liquor are sold and drunk
2 : inn

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tavern

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tavern

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tavern

Spanish Central: Translation of tavern

Nglish: Translation of tavern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tavern for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tavern

Comments on tavern

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


to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!