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. 
Cocktail either named after the tool, in reference to its penetrating effects, or British Navy surgeon Gimlette.
gimlet (plural gimlets)
- 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 November, W[illiam] B[utler] Yeats, “The Collar-bone of a Hare”, in The Wild Swans at Coole, Other Verses an a Play in Verse, Churchtown, Dundrum [Dublin]: The Cuala Press, OCLC 4474827, page 3:
- 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 [...]
- 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.
- To pierce or bore holes (as if using a gimlet).
- (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.