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Definition gin

Etymology 1

Abbreviation of geneva or alternatively from Dutch genever (“juniper”) from Old French genevre (French genièvre), from Latin iūniperus (“juniper”). Hence gin rummy (first attested 1941).


gin (countable and uncountable, plural gins)

  1. A colourless non-aged alcoholic liquor made by distilling fermented grains such as barley, corn, oats or rye with juniper berries; the base for many cocktails.
  2. (uncountable) Gin rummy.
  3. (poker) Drawing the best card or combination of cards.

Etymology 2

Aphetism of Old French engin (“engine”).


gin (plural gins)

  1. (obsolete) A trick; a device or instrument.
  2. (obsolete) Contrivance; artifice; a trap; a snare.
  3. A snare or trap for game.
  4. A machine for raising or moving heavy objects, consisting of a tripod formed of poles united at the top, with a windlass, pulleys, ropes, etc.
  5. (mining) A hoisting drum, usually vertical; a whim.
  6. A pile driver.
  7. A windpump.
  8. A cotton gin.
  9. An instrument of torture worked with screws.

gin (third-person singular simple present gins, present participle ginning, simple past and past participle ginned)

  1. (transitive) To remove the seeds from cotton with a cotton gin.
  2. (transitive) To trap something in a gin.

Etymology 3

From Middle English ginnen (“to begin”), contraction of beginnen, from Old English beginnan, from Proto-Germanic *biginnaną.


gin (third-person singular simple present gins, present participle ginning, simple past gan, past participle gun)

  1. (archaic) To begin.

Etymology 4

Borrowed from Dharug dyin (“woman”), but having acquired a derogatory tone.


gin (plural gins)

  1. (Australia, now considered offensive) An Aboriginal woman.

Etymology 6

Cognate to Scots gin (“if”): perhaps from gi(v)en, or a compound in which the first element is from Old English ġif (English if) and the second is cognate to English an (“if”) (compare iffen), or perhaps from again.



  1. (chiefly Southern US, Appalachia, Scotland) If.

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