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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.
    Coordinate terms: auger, awl, drill
  2. A cocktail, usually made with gin and lime juice.
    Coordinate term: martini
    • 1953, Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, published 2002, page 19:
      We sat in a corner of the bar at Victor's and drank gimlets. “They don't know how to make them here,” he said. “What they call a gimlet is just some lime or lemon juice and gin with a dash of sugar and bitters. A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats martinis hollow.”
    • 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.
    • 2012, Stuart Woods, Unnatural Acts: A Stone Barrington Novel, Penguin (→ISBN), page 98:
      By seven, dinner was under way, and a bottle of vodka gimlets and one of martinis were in the freezer, chilling.

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. ^ John A. Simpson and Edward S. C. Weiner, editors (1989), “gimlet”, in The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, →ISBN.
  2. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “gimlet”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.