[ bis-troh; French bee-stroh ]
/ ˈbɪs troʊ; French biˈstroʊ /

noun, plural bis·tros [bis-trohz; French bee-stroh] /ˈbɪs troʊz; French biˈstroʊ/.

a small, modest, European-style restaurant or café.
a small nightclub or restaurant.


Nearby words

  1. bister,
  2. bisto,
  3. bistort,
  4. bistoury,
  5. bistre,
  6. bisulcate,
  7. bisulfate,
  8. bisulfide,
  9. bisulfite,
  10. bisulphate

Origin of bistro

1920–25; < French bistro(t), orig. argot, first attested in the sense “proprietor of a tavern” (1884); of obscure origin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bistro

British Dictionary definitions for bistro


/ (ˈbiːstrəʊ) /

noun plural -tros

a small restaurant

Word Origin for bistro

French: of obscure origin; perhaps from Russian bistro fast

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

Word Origin and History for bistro



1906, from French bistro (1884), originally Parisian slang for "little wineshop or restaurant," of unknown origin. Commonly said to be from Russian bee-stra "quickly," picked up during the Allied occupation of Paris in 1815 after the defeat of Napoleon; but this, however quaint, is unlikely. Another guess is that it is from bistraud "a little shepherd," a word of the Poitou dialect, from biste "goat."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper