General English


  • A high-alcohol spirit distilled from wine and matured. Used for flavouring and flambéing or flaming food. Similar spirits are grappa and marc.


  • noun the backside, buttocks. Used in this sense the term has been heard among the London gay community since the 1960s and may have originated from the rhyming slang expression ‘brandy and rum’: bum.


  • noun a strong alcohol distilled from wine
  • noun a glass of this alcohol


  • an alcoholic liquid that is the result of distilling wine and ageing it in wood barrels. Brandy can be made wherever grapevines are grown, but the greatest quantities are produced in France and Spain. The finest French brandies, Cognac and Armagnac, bear their own names rather than the generic term ‘brandy’. Any fruit can be distilled to form a brandy, but non-grape versions are normally referred to by their own names, e.g. Calvados is brandy from apple juice.

Origin & History of “brandy”

English acquired the word for this distilled spirit from Dutch brandewijn, and at first altered and translated it minimally to brandewine. soon however this became brandy wine, and by the mid-17th century the abbreviated brandy was in common use. The Dutch compound meant ‘distilled wine’, from branden, which denoted ‘distil’ as well as ‘burn’ (it was a derivative of brand ‘fire’, cognate with English brand).