Definition of cocktail in English:



  • 1An alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or spirits mixed with other ingredients, such as fruit juice or cream.

    as modifier ‘a cocktail bar’
    • ‘I was a little more drunk than I thought I was, having drunk several cocktails and a little Champagne.’
    • ‘Most spirit based drinks and cocktails cost about $10 each.’
    • ‘Just as my fellow students were intimidated by formal grammar, a lot of otherwise sophisticated people are intimidated by spirits, cocktails and mixed drinks.’
    • ‘The bar sells a wonderful array of beers, cocktails and spirits, with an equally eclectic range of superior pub grub that includes pizza, curry and just about everything else.’
    • ‘A nation once wedded to spirits, beer and cocktails changed its habits dramatically in the past quarter of a century.’
    • ‘Who was she kidding, turning up at this fancy bar drinking sickly sweet cocktails that cost $14 each?’
    • ‘You have a few cocktails, drink some tequila, and everyone gets along.’
    • ‘Sip from frothy coffee ice cream smoothies or alcohol-free cocktails and indulge in the salon atmosphere.’
    • ‘The fight came at the end of a night's clubbing during which the prince is reported to have drunk vodka cocktails, tequila and beer.’
    • ‘In addition, alcoholic cocktail drinks must be clearly labelled and not portrayed as fizzy soft drinks.’
    • ‘Spring is the time in her restaurant for rum drinks, cocktails with fruit and drinks with fizz.’
    • ‘He obviously had no concept about what each ingredient in the cocktail brought to the drink.’
    • ‘Over a third of women in their twenties are binge drinkers and their fondness for products like vodka and cocktails have helped drive spirits sales.’
    • ‘Her first priority, though, is to have a few drinks at the cocktail party later tonight.’
    • ‘You lounge around the two freeform pools, walk to the beach, drink cocktails at the bar, eat well and sleep deeply.’
    • ‘Now it has been renovated to include a restaurant, lounge bar, cocktail bar and beer garden.’
    • ‘In many ways it is apt that this adulterated tequila drink was their cocktail of choice.’
    • ‘The drinks are good, if somewhat pricy - the cocktails are packed with alcohol and very drinkable.’
    • ‘Maybe I'll survive as long as I don't start drinking cocktails with umbrellas in them.’
    • ‘She has some specific tips for setting up a bar for a cocktail party.’
    1. 1.1 A mixture of substances or factors, especially when dangerous or unpleasant.
      ‘a cocktail of drugs with severe side effects’
      ‘financial pressure plus isolation can be a deadly cocktail for some people’
      • ‘In an operating system, the combination of closed source and entangled structure makes for a deadly cocktail.’
      • ‘The second sequel of the film is back with its deadly cocktail of fast cars, mean racers and hot babes.’
      • ‘Guilt, selfishness, deep sorrow and frustration all mingled together in my conscience like a deadly cocktail.’
      • ‘I hate him and love him in equal measure, and it's a dangerous cocktail.’
      • ‘A well-known technique is to give horses a cocktail of substances from the same family of drugs.’
      • ‘She spluttered chaotically - her head racing as she was overcome by a volatile cocktail of heat and cold.’
      • ‘First love, new experiences and no parental control must be a dangerous cocktail.’
      • ‘In the late 1990s, antiretroviral drug cocktails extended the lives of those who could afford them.’
      • ‘A cocktail of drugs kept her slim, awake and bright-eyed for filming, and then helped her sleep at night.’
      • ‘Do they think it necessary to serve up a crazy cocktail of musical genres in order to justify their entry rates?’
      • ‘I should be having my own fun and excitement, off my dial on a cocktail of medically-sanctioned drugs.’
      • ‘She was on a cocktail of drink and drugs when she burgled a total of four houses to fund her drug addiction.’
      • ‘He became concerned about the cocktail of eight drugs his wife was prescribed to combat depression and anxiety because he felt they were harming her.’
      • ‘I take a cocktail of exotic drugs which give me vivid dreams.’
      • ‘A cocktail of substances is now burning from several storage containers, but fire authorities say the blaze is well under control.’
      • ‘The company is focusing on getting its cocktail, a mixture of three drugs, to market.’
      • ‘A worker stopped by police on his way to work at a local bacon factory had a cocktail of illegal drugs with him.’
      • ‘Rugby, lads, pub, Saturday… the result of this dangerous cocktail is not hard to imagine.’
      • ‘The watchdog group found a cocktail of dangerous pesticides when they tested 12 leading brands of drink.’
      • ‘Away from the action, it's a dangerous cocktail as a new book on the misdemeanours of America's basketballers.’
  • 2A dish consisting of small pieces of food, typically served cold as a starter.

    ‘we began with prawn and avocado cocktail’
    ‘a chilled lobster cocktail prettily presented in a martini glass’
    • ‘I looked around, and managed to find a shrimp cocktail that they would serve to some rich businessman flying in one of these things.’
    • ‘Starters include warm chicken salad, prawn cocktail, smoked salmon and a Tuscan roll with pesto and mozzarella.’
    • ‘It was mostly a finger food buffet, with mini pizzas and shrimp cocktail.’
    • ‘Make a crab cocktail and serve it piled high on a slice of toasted sourdough bread.’
    • ‘This is what we have come to expect of the prawn cocktail: this monster of a crime against the palate.’
    • ‘Her preferences seem to rest mainly on seafood cocktails, shrimp and tilapia - a fish I normally find to be insipid stuff.’
    • ‘Starters included home-made salmon fish cakes, shami kebabs and pickle and fresh prawn cocktail and avocado with tuna marie rose.’
    • ‘Seven appetizers and salads are next, including prawn and crab cocktails.’
    • ‘Think of them as the best of department store tearoom cuisine - favorites such as shrimp cocktails, chicken salad, and cheese straws.’
    • ‘A tempting array of starters ranged from melon, garlic bread and prawn cocktail through to pasta dishes which could have been a main course in themselves.’
    • ‘On the menu are such delights of Olde England: prawn cocktail, steak Diane and banana flambé’
    • ‘We were impressed with the crab cocktail and the steak Diane, and the very attentive service we received.’
    • ‘A hot station has the meats and the hot containers for the vegetables, while on the other side is the cold station with the prawn cocktails.’
    • ‘He celebrated with a shrimp cocktail and big steak Sunday night.’


Early 17th century: from cock + tail. The original use was as an adjective describing a creature with a tail like that of a cock, specifically a horse with a docked tail; hence (because hunters and coach-horses were generally docked) a racehorse which was not a thoroughbred, having a cock-tailed horse in its pedigree (early 19th century). cocktail (sense 1) (originally US, also early 19th century) is perhaps analogous, from the idea of an adulterated spirit.