Definition of sherbet in English:



  • 1British [mass noun] A flavoured sweet effervescent powder eaten alone or made into a drink.

    ‘disks of fruit-flavoured rice paper filled with sherbet’
    • ‘It sold everything you would remember from the penny tray and I laughed in the face of my dentist and bought a sherbet dab, sherbet fountain and a bag of flying saucers.’
    • ‘We all mixed sherbet with water and planted licorice allsorts in pursuit of Dahl's peculiar brand of alchemy.’
    • ‘My granddad and uncle worked together in a sweet factory, so always had a healthy supply of coconut ice, jelly babies and sherbet dip.’
    • ‘The inviting assortment of goodies include acid drops, sherbet lemons, sherbet pips, coconut mushrooms, cinder toffee, Yorkshire mixtures, liquorice sticks, and lollies of all flavours under the sun.’
    • ‘Back at home we would help ourselves to as much icing sugar as we could get away with borrowing from the pantry, and mix it with the acid to make our own giant-sized bags of sherbet.’
    • ‘I can't remember exactly how much I was paid, probably no more than a groat - but I do remember I got free sherbet dips!’
    • ‘I caught the scent of sherbet: Celia had left a bag of the sweet stuff on my desk yesterday.’
    • ‘‘We used to buy sherbet rolled in newspaper for a ha'penny that had a piece of liquorice coming out of the top,’ said Mr Taylor.’
    • ‘I didn't even want to wander to my local newsagents and buy those brilliant sweets he does, you know, the licorice sticks with sherbet on the inside.’
    • ‘A sherbet powder was produced which could either be made into a fizzy drink, or sucked into the mouth, where it would likewise fizz.’
    • ‘Thus my heart danced at his sardines-on-toast ice-cream (made with tinned fish and sliced white bread), and at his vanilla pod sherbet dib-dab and his spacedust chocolate.’
    • ‘From aniseed balls, butter Brazils and Grays tea cakes, to chocolate Turkish delight, sherbets and rhubarb and custard, the list of taste bud-tickling treats on sale is endless.’
    • ‘The powder turned pink in the water so I knew it wasn't sherbet.’
    • ‘For breakfast I had an orange and the remains of a bread roll I'd brought from this little supermarket the previous evening, washed down with a little mineral water which fizzed on my tongue like sherbet.’
    • ‘The 30 children spent six months working on Spaced Out - a story of four children who are kidnapped and whisked off to Mars to make sherbet for aliens whose supplies have run dry.’
    • ‘From its rose-petal nose to the sherbet, passion fruit and banana flavours therein, this must be the perfect wine to go with spicy Asian food.’
    • ‘Passion-fruit is also used in sherbets and confectionery, ice cream and yoghurt.’
    • ‘Remember all those sweets you used to love as a child; black jacks, sweet tobacco, sherbet fountains, space dust, etc…?’
    • ‘The noise caused Ally to look up and when she saw all the crisps, chocolate, marshmallows, sherbet and other such things she pounced on Luke to get them.’
    • ‘We sold everything from Quality Street and Black Magic to sherbet dabs, lolly pops and liquorice.’
  • 2(especially in Arab countries) a cooling drink of sweet diluted fruit juices.

    ‘the ladies floated around in diaphanous silks and served sherbet and other refreshments’
    • ‘In rural areas, lassis and sherbets appeal to people of all ages.’
    • ‘So were the gulab-based sherbets which can be taken both during summer and winter.’
    • ‘Indeed, you can never leave an Indian household without gaining a few ounces, for you will certainly be plied with some snacks, some tea at the very least, or a glass of cold rose sherbet in the heat of summer.’
    • ‘True to their tradition, sugar was often added and the kadi often tasted like sherbet.’
    • ‘The Crusaders then took it to Europe, while the Ottoman Turks began using it creatively in rice dishes, puddings, pastries, jams, sherbets, syrups and a large variety of sweets.’
  • 3North American Water ice; sorbet.

    • ‘In addition to the traditional jelly or sauce, cranberries can be used for pies, muffins, quick breads, puddings, and sherbets.’
    • ‘Fruit-flavored ice creams, sorbets and sherbets benefit from the use of vanilla because the ingredient can balance out acidic notes of the citrus or fruit product.’
    • ‘The final page has desserts, sherbets and ice creams.’
    • ‘Sales of ice milk, sherbets, water ices and novelties continued to increase, but the very foundation of our business, ice cream, started to slip.’
    • ‘On the contrary, the majority remains committed to offering a full complement of healthier alternatives, including both low-fat and no-fat ice creams, frozen yogurts, sherbets and novelties.’
    • ‘Keep in mind that - unlike sorbets, sherbets, and most soy desserts - ice creams and frozen yogurts are a decent source or calcium.’
    • ‘Begin the meal with a salad, feast on the stew, then finish with simple mango sorbet or lime sherbet.’
    • ‘Spoom is a meringue-enhanced sorbet or sherbet.’
    • ‘Dinner menus offered just one soup, two salads, fresh hot breads, a choice of six main courses, and a featured dessert plus sherbets.’
    • ‘After all you had your sherbet and sugar cones up until you were ten.’
    ice cream
    View synonyms
  • 4Australian humorous Beer.

    [count noun] ‘I went down the local pub for a few sherbets’


The tendency to insert an r into the second syllable of sherbet is common: the misspelling sherbert accounts for around a quarter of the citations for the word in the Oxford English Corpus


Early 17th century: from Turkish şerbet, Persian šerbet, from Arabic šarba drink, from šariba to drink. Compare with syrup.