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[bot-l] /ˈbɒt l/
a portable container for holding liquids, characteristically having a neck and mouth and made of glass or plastic.
the contents of such a container; as much as such a container contains:
a bottle of wine.
bottled cow's milk, milk formulas, or substitute mixtures given to infants instead of mother's milk:
raised on the bottle.
the bottle, intoxicating beverages; liquor:
He became addicted to the bottle.
verb (used with object), bottled, bottling.
to put into or seal in a bottle:
to bottle grape juice.
British. to preserve (fruit or vegetables) by heating to a sufficient temperature and then sealing in a jar.
Verb phrases
bottle up,
  1. to repress, control, or restrain:
    He kept all of his anger bottled up inside him.
  2. to enclose or entrap:
    Traffic was bottled up in the tunnel.
hit the bottle, Slang. to drink alcohol to excess often or habitually.
Origin of bottle1
1325-75; Middle English botel < Anglo-French; Old French bo(u)teille < Medieval Latin butticula, equivalent to Late Latin butti(s) butt4 + -cula -cule1
Related forms
bottlelike, adjective
well-bottled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bottle up
Historical Examples
  • bottle up your metaphors and give us a page of business-like fluency!

    Jack of Both Sides Florence Coombe
  • Every exit had been cut off to bottle up the Imperial cortege.

    Despoilers of the Golden Empire Gordon Randall Garrett
  • However, Stansfield has to bottle up his feelings, and, behold!

  • How many are there who bottle up their wrath all the day long, and uncork it when they get home!

    Humanity in the City E. H. Chapin
  • The specialist was out, and he had to bottle up his rage until the morning.

  • "You bottle up when it comes to that," said Sally philosophically.

    Somehow Good William de Morgan
  • He held the bottle up and squinted through it, sighing gustily.

    Deadly City Paul W. Fairman
  • I could see myself in a new suit, having a bottle up at the Haymarket.

  • Give some to the boys outside, then bring the bottle up to us.

    Cudjo's Cave J. T. Trowbridge
  • But the year has been a sobering one, and what used to flash, they bottle up.


    Leona Dalrymple
British Dictionary definitions for bottle up

bottle up

verb (transitive, adverb)
to restrain (powerful emotion)
to keep (an army or other force) contained or trapped: the French fleet was bottled up in Le Havre


  1. a vessel, often of glass and typically cylindrical with a narrow neck that can be closed with a cap or cork, for containing liquids
  2. (as modifier): a bottle rack
Also called bottleful. the amount such a vessel will hold
  1. a container equipped with a teat that holds a baby's milk or other liquid; nursing bottle
  2. the contents of such a container: the baby drank his bottle
short for magnetic bottle
(Brit, slang) nerve; courage (esp in the phrase lose one's bottle)
(Brit, slang) money collected by street entertainers or buskers
(Austral, slang) full bottle, well-informed and enthusiastic about something
(informal) the bottle, drinking of alcohol, esp to excess
verb (transitive)
to put or place (wine, beer, jam, etc) in a bottle or bottles
to store (gas) in a portable container under pressure
(slang) to injure by thrusting a broken bottle into (a person)
(Brit, slang) (of a busker) to collect money from the bystanders
See also bottle out, bottle up
Word Origin
C14: from Old French botaille, from Medieval Latin butticula literally: a little cask, from Late Latin buttis cask, butt4


(dialect) a bundle, esp of hay
Word Origin
C14: from Old French botel, from botte bundle, of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bottle up



mid-14c., originally of leather, from Old French boteille (12c., Modern French bouteille), from Vulgar Latin butticula, diminutive of Late Latin buttis "a cask," which is perhaps from Greek. The bottle, figurative for "liquor," is from 17c.



1640s, from bottle (n.). Related: Bottled; bottling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bottle up



  1. A bottle or bottle's amount of liquor; jug: He had a bottle on him (late 1600s+)
  2. A glass insulator for electric or communications lines (1900s+ Line repairers)
  3. A vacuum tube (1920s+ Radio operators)

Related Terms

fight a bottle, hit the bottle

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with bottle up

bottle up

Repress, contain, hold back; also, confine or trap. For example, The psychiatrist said Eve had been bottling up her anger for years, or The accident bottled up traffic for miles. This idiom likens other kinds of restraint to liquid being contained in a bottle. [ Mid-1800s ]


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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