Molotov cocktail

  1. a crude incendiary grenade consisting of a bottle filled with a flammable liquid and a wick that is ignited before throwing: used originally for setting fire to enemy tanks during the Spanish Civil War.

Origin of Molotov cocktail

First recorded in 1935–40; named after V. M. Molotov Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for molotov cocktail

Molotov cocktail

  1. an elementary incendiary weapon, usually a bottle of petrol with a short-delay fuse or wick; petrol bomb

Word Origin for Molotov cocktail

C20: named after V. M. Molotov
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 molotov cocktail

Molotov cocktail


1940, a term from Russo-Finnish War (used and satirically named by the Finns), from Molotov (from Russian molot "hammer") name taken by Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skriabin (1890-1986), Soviet minister of foreign affairs 1939-1949.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

molotov cocktail in Culture

Molotov cocktail

[(mol-uh-tawf, mol-uh-tawv)]

An incendiary bomb made from a breakable container, such as a bottle, filled with flammable liquid and provided with a rag wick. Used by the Soviets against the invading German armies in World War II, these bombs were nicknamed after V. M. Molotov, a foreign minister of the Soviet Union at that time.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.