Molotov Cocktail

   The antitank weapon called a Molotov cocktail was not named to honor Molotov. Although how it was so dubbed is a matter of dispute, it is believed to have been named by the Finns during the Russo-Finnish War of 1939-1940 as a satirical honor for their antagonist—a cocktail for Molotov. In any event it has been used with lethal success by the armies of several countries. The weapon is a simple one. It consists of a bottle filled with inflammable fluid such as gasoline, with a slow fuse such as rag protruding from the neck. The rag is ignited and the bottle thrown against the side of a tank, where it bursts into flames, spreading the liquid over the surface of the tank. The "cocktail" is very much like a homemade grenade. A cannister of incendiary bombs, launched from a plane as it opens and showers the bombs over a wide area, is called a Molotov breadbasket.
   Molotov, the alias of the Russian diplomat Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skriabin (1890-1986), dominated Russian foreign policy under Stalin. He was so indispensable to Stalin that he accompanied him to all the important international conferences. He negotiated the infamous MolotovRibbentrop pact, in 1939, otherwise known as the Pact of Steel. After Stalin's death, Molotov fell out of favor with Khrushchev, who labeled him a saboteur of peace, accused him of policy failures, and then bestowed on him the supreme honor of ambassador to Mongolia. He was expelled from the Communist Party in 1964, the very party he helped found. But in a show of compassion, the party reinstated him in 1984, at which time he was ninety-four years of age.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Molotov cocktail — n. A home made incendiary device consisting of a bottle filled with gasoline, and a cloth wick. The wick is lighted, and the bottle thrown at a target, such as a vehicle, where it may shatter and spread intense flames over the vehicle, destroying …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Molotov cocktail — (n.) 1940, a term from Russo Finnish War (used and satirically named by the Finns), from Molotov (from Rus. molot hammer ) name taken by Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skriabin (1890 1986), Soviet minister of foreign affairs 1939 1949 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Molotov cocktail — ► NOUN ▪ a crude incendiary device consisting of a bottle of flammable liquid ignited by means of a wick. ORIGIN named after the Soviet statesman Vyacheslav Molotov, who organized the production of similar grenades in World War II …   English terms dictionary

  • Molotov cocktail — n. [after MOLOTOV V(yacheslav) M(ikhailovich)] Slang a bottle filled with gasoline, etc. and wrapped in a saturated rag or plugged with a wick, then ignited and hurled as a grenade …   English World dictionary

  • Molotov cocktail — index bomb Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Molotov cocktail — A Finnish soldier with a Molotov cocktail in the Winter War. The Molotov cocktail, also known as the petrol bomb, gasoline bomb, Molotov bomb, fire bottle, fire bomb, or simply Molotov, is a generic name used for a variety of improvised… …   Wikipedia

  • Molotov cocktail — UK [ˌmɒlətɒf ˈkɒkteɪl] / US [ˈmɑlətɔf ˌkɑkteɪl] / US [ˈmoʊlətɔv ˌkɑkteɪl] noun [countable] Word forms Molotov cocktail : singular Molotov cocktail plural Molotov cocktails a simple bomb consisting of a bottle filled with a liquid that you can set …   English dictionary

  • Molotov cocktail — [[t]mɒ̱lətɒv kɒ̱kteɪl[/t]] Molotov cocktails N COUNT A Molotov cocktail is a simple bomb made by putting petrol and cloth into a bottle. It is exploded by setting fire to the cloth …   English dictionary

  • Molotov cocktail — noun Etymology: Vyacheslav M. Molotov Date: 1940 a crude bomb made of a bottle filled with a flammable liquid (as gasoline) and usually fitted with a wick (as a saturated rag) that is ignited just before the bottle is hurled …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Molotov cocktail — 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. [1935 40; named after V. M. MOLOTOV] * * * …   Universalium

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