• synonyms


[bis-troh; French bee-stroh]
See more synonyms for bistro on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural bis·tros [bis-trohz; French bee-stroh] /ˈbɪs troʊz; French biˈstroʊ/.
  1. a small, modest, European-style restaurant or café.
  2. a small nightclub or restaurant.
Show More

Origin of bistro

1920–25; < French bistro(t), orig. argot, first attested in the sense “proprietor of a tavern” (1884); of obscure origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

tavern, lounge, restaurant, bar

Examples from the Web for bistro

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The only place I ever had it better was at a bistro in Nice on this last permission.

    Three Soldiers

    John Dos Passos

British Dictionary definitions for bistro


noun plural -tros
  1. a small restaurant
Show More

Word Origin

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."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper