Definition of cocktail noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkɒkteɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkɑːkteɪl//
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  1. 1 [countable] a drink usually made from a mixture of one or more spirits (= strong alcoholic drinks) and fruit juice. It can also be made without alcohol a cocktail bar/cabinet/lounge
  2. 2 [countable, uncountable] a dish of small pieces of food, usually served cold a prawn/shrimp cocktail fruit cocktail
  3. 3[countable] a mixture of different substances, usually ones that do not mix together well a lethal cocktail of drugs see also Molotov cocktail
  4. Word Originearly 17th cent.: 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 cent.). Sense (1) (originally US, also early 19th cent.) is perhaps an analogy, from the idea of an impure spirit.Extra examples The house cocktail is the caipirinha. Cheers! The show was a heady cocktail of jazz and political satire. a familiar face on the cocktail circuit a lethal cocktail of drink and drugs
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: cocktail