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a gimlet (tool)


From the Old French guinbelet, guimbelet, later guibelet, probably a diminutive of the Anglo-French wimble, a variation of guimble (“drill”), from the Middle Low German wiemel, compare the Scandinavian wammie, to bore or twist; the modern French is gibelet. [1]

Cocktail either named after the tool, in reference to its penetrating effects, or British Navy surgeon Gimlette.[2]



gimlet (plural gimlets)

  1. A small screw-tipped tool for boring holes.
    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], chapter II, in Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. [] [Gulliver’s Travels], volume I, London: Printed for Benj[amin] Motte, [], OCLC 995220039, part II (A Voyage to Brobdingnag):
      The box was close on every side, with a little door for me to go in and out, and a few gimlet holes to let in air.
    • 1917, William Butler Yeats, The Wild Swans at Coole (1919), "The Collar-bone of a Hare":
      I would find by the edge of that water
      The collar-bone of a hare
      Worn thin by the lapping of water,
      And pierce it through with a gimlet and stare
  2. A cocktail, usually made with gin and lime juice.
    • 2001, General Hospital (TV soap opera, August 28)
      Yeah, a piece of advice — once you’re back in circulation, don’t keep topping off a lady’s vodka gimlet when she’s not looking.

Coordinate terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]



gimlet (third-person singular simple present gimlets, present participle gimleting or gimletting, simple past and past participle gimleted or gimletted)

  1. To pierce or bore holes (as if using a gimlet).
  2. (nautical, transitive) To turn round (an anchor) as if turning a gimlet.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ “gimlet” in The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989, →ISBN.
  2. ^ gimlet” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.