Definition of bottle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbɒt(ə)l/


Image of bottle
1A glass or plastic container with a narrow neck, used for storing drinks or other liquids: he opened the bottle of beer
More example sentences
  • Do not store poisons in drink bottles, glasses, or jars.
  • Fans inside the Arena had started pelting each other with plastic beer glasses and bottles, and the concert was temporarily halted.
  • She did as she was told and trotted off into the kitchen and she looked around for a glass bottle containing a colorless liquid.
flask, carafe, decanter, pitcher, flagon, carboy, demijohn
1.1The contents of a bottle: she managed to get through a bottle of wine
More example sentences
  • For example, the alcoholic content of a bottle of wine must be indicated and also its origin and where the wine was bottled.
  • You can check this by sampling a bottle of Bollinger's Vieilles Vignes (ungrafted old vines) against a bottle made from their grafted vines.
  • It being the longest day of the year, I suppose I should have been celebrating some arcane shamanic ritual, but I just put my foot up and finished the remains of a bottle of schnapps.
1.2 (the bottle) informal Used in reference to the heavy drinking of alcohol: more women are taking to the bottle
More example sentences
  • As a result, the villagers turn to the bottle, drinking to forget how dreary their lives are.
  • Reading the Government's plans to liberalise the licensing laws could be enough to make anybody turn to the bottle.
  • The minimum age of boys taking to the bottle in The State has fallen to as low as 13.5 years.
1.3A bottle fitted with a teat for giving milk or other drinks to babies and very young children.
Example sentences
  • Sadly, Andre seems to be sick and won't even drink milk from a bottle.
  • Her theory is that the patient must wear diapers, suck his thumb and drink from a baby bottle to be cured.
  • They will generally signal an interest in solid foods by biting the bottle nipple or showing an interest in licking milk or formula from a finger.
1.4A large metal cylinder holding liquefied gas.
Example sentences
  • We were in a metal box with gas bottles, connected to an electrical hook-up point.
2 [mass noun] British informal The courage or confidence needed to do something difficult or dangerous: I lost my bottle completely and ran
More example sentences
  • But these figures do seem to seriously undermine the slur that the Spaniards lost their bottle after the bombs.
  • So he lost his bottle in the end, and postponed the general election before he had even called it.
  • We started slowly, but we wore them down and they lost their bottle when we were 8-3 up.
courage, courageousness, bravery, valour, intrepidity, boldness, nerve, confidence, daring, audacity, pluck, pluckiness, spirit, mettle, spine, backbone, steel, fibre, stout-heartedness
informal guts, gutsiness, spunk, grit, gumption, gameness
British informal ballsiness
North American informal moxie, cojones, sand
vulgar slang balls
rare temerariousness, venturousness


[with object]
1Place (drinks or other liquid) in bottles for storage: the wine was bottled in 1997
More example sentences
  • Even today many no longer drink tap water; bottled mineral water is the fashion.
  • Children who drink bottled water may be putting their teeth at risk because they are missing out on fluoride in their tap water, researchers claim.
  • Only children living in nonfluoridated areas or children who drink only nonfluoridated bottled water should receive supplements.
1.1British Place (fruit or vegetables) in glass jars with other ingredients in order to preserve them: Angela bottled fruit and jam and chutneys
More example sentences
  • Recipes for bottling vegetables and making chutneys bring on the Little House on the Prairie spirit.
  • His love of life was bubbly and his chirpy, outgoing personality was the very stuff that needs to be bottled and preserved in today's trying world.
  • They are sometimes preserved by bottling but lose much of their evanescent flavour.
1.2 (usually as adjective bottled) Store (gas) in a container in liquefied form: she set about connecting the bottled gas to the stove
More example sentences
  • The company is run from premises on Tennyson Street, where the gas is bottled and distributed.
  • So, the Leader of the Opposition, V.S. Achutanandan, may have hit the nail on the head when he said that we might even see air being bottled and sold eventually.
  • With holds up to 35 feet off the deck, Iowa residents may want to consider bottled oxygen.
2 informal Throw a glass bottle at (someone): he was bottled offstage at a club
More example sentences
  • The teenager was assaulted at Southend Victoria Station at around 8pm by a gang of male yobs who bottled him in the hand with a smashed glass.
  • But, seriously, there are some huge questions that need to be addressed here - claims of police over-reaction, stewards bottling customers, fears of explosions.
  • The 37-year-old was unable to work after the first assault in July 2003 in which he was bottled, repeatedly kicked and left for dead in the town centre.
3British informal Lose one’s nerve and decide not to do (something): the leader had completely bottled his confrontation with them one terrified contestant bottles it and scarpers
More example sentences
  • He accused him of bottling a referendum for the same reason that he decided against an early election: because he knows he would lose.
  • The coach maintained after the game that some of his players had "bottled it" when it came to taking penalties.
  • I completely froze when I was handed the microphone and very nearly bottled it, but I managed to get the words out.



bottle and glass

British rhyming slang Arse.

be full bottle on

Australian /NZ informal Be very knowledgeable about: they are full bottle on the tricks the industry gets up to
More example sentences
  • Want to sound like a full bottle on foreign policy?
  • No doubt some of us are full bottle on revisionist history since the fall of the wall but not, alas, me.
  • We were a full bottle on anything that might cause our respective broadcasters or publishers any embarrassment or worse—legal action.

hit the bottle

informal Start to drink alcohol heavily: his marriage broke up and he hit the bottle
More example sentences
  • She suffered from manic depression, and when she died after a long illness, Bellany - always fond of the drink - hit the bottle with venom.
  • ‘It was like an alcoholic hitting the bottle again,’ Raihala said.
  • The significant jump in the number of women who are dying from alcohol-related illness proves that more and more women are hitting the bottle.

in bottle

(Of wine) having been aged for a specified number of years in its bottle: the wine can be drunk after eight years in bottle
More example sentences
  • Despite this perception, experience shows many wines which age in bottle with substantial ullage exhibit no signs of oxidation.
  • Maybe this is an age thing, too - maybe that slight herbaceousness will factor out after the wine rests a few months in bottle.
  • It is also fairly tannic, and right now the wine is a bit disjointed, indicating it could use another one to three years in bottle.

Phrasal verbs


bottle out

British informal Lose one’s nerve and decide not to do something: I bottled out and was homesick and I came home the Minister has bottled out of real reforms

bottle something up

Repress or conceal feelings over time: his anger and frustration had been bottled up for years
More example sentences
  • When he was irritated, he swallowed it down and bottled it up, and even when he had little reason to be so, he would still always be polite to those who didn't deserve it.
  • You can't hide your true feelings, because if you bottle them up then they will get out somehow.
  • It's often a huge relief to children to have this silence broken and able to share their thoughts and feelings instead of bottling them up.
suppress, repress, restrain, withhold, keep back, keep in check, keep in, hold in, rein in, bite back, choke back, swallow, fight back, curb, inhibit, smother, stifle, contain, shut in, conceal, hide
informal keep a lid on, cork up, button up

bottle someone/thing up

Keep someone or something trapped or contained: he had to stay bottled up in New York
More example sentences
  • David Brennan was bottled up in the right corner but managed to get the ball back across the goal.
  • Alongside him, Denis Glennon drifted outfield but Dublin bottled him up wherever he went, limiting him to just a point.
  • Not only did the injury keep him out of five games, it also forced him to take on too many offensive linemen when making plays, and he was bottled up in the process.


Late Middle English: from Old French boteille, from medieval Latin butticula, diminutive of late Latin buttis 'cask, wineskin' (see butt4).

  • The word bottle goes back to Latin buttis ‘cask, wineskin’, the origin of butt (Late Middle English) and also of butler (Middle English) originally the man in charge of the wine-cellar. To have a lot of bottle and the related phrases to lose your bottle and to bottle out, meaning ‘to lose your nerve’, date back to the 1950s. ‘Bottle’ here may be from rhyming slang bottle and glass, ‘arse’.

Words that rhyme with bottle

axolotl, dottle, glottal, mottle, pottle, throttle, wattle

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bot¦tle

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