[kohn-yak, kon-; French kaw-nyak]


(often initial capital letter) the brandy distilled in and shipped from the legally delimited area surrounding the town of Cognac, in W central France.
any French brandy.
any good brandy.

Origin of cognac

Borrowed into English from French around 1585–95 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cognac

brandy, whiskey, cordial, intoxicant, alcohol, booze, port, aperitif, marc

Examples from the Web for cognac

Contemporary Examples of cognac

Historical Examples of cognac

  • She said, however, that the cognac was flattered, and took up her knitting.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • There's many such a fortune been made out of Mechlin and Cognac.'

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Then he went to take a little glass of cognac which stood on the mantelpiece.


    Emile Zola

  • He took one cognac after another and every evening he was completely intoxicated.


    Hugo Mnsterberg

  • Besides which—after all a gentleman must have his cognac, and his lady her tea and silks.

    Red Cap Tales

    Samuel Rutherford Crockett

British Dictionary definitions for cognac



a town in SW France: centre of the district famed for its brandy. Pop: 19 534 (1999)
(sometimes not capital) a high-quality grape brandy
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 cognac

1590s, Coniacke, "wine produced in Cognac," the region in western France. The sense of "brandy" is 1755, shortened from 17c. cognac brandy, which was distilled from cognac wine. The place name is from Medieval Latin Comniacum, from the personal name Cominius and the Gallo-Roman suffix -acum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper