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[nahyt-kap] /ˈnaɪtˌkæp/
Informal. an alcoholic drink taken at bedtime or at the end of a festive evening.
a cap for the head, intended primarily to be worn in bed.
Sports Informal. the last event of the program for the day, especially the second game of a doubleheader in baseball or the last race of the day in horse racing.
Origin of nightcap
1350-1400; Middle English; see night, cap1
Related forms
nightcapped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nightcap
  • Pride sleeps in a gilded crown, contentment in a cotton nightcap.
  • End your evening at any of the nearby beaches, where you can bring your own nightcap and stay till dawn.
  • The junior point guard angled for some form of last-second showboating, maybe an eye-popping dunk as a nightcap.
  • Look for them to return to the starting lineup for the nightcap.
  • For a nightcap, the resort attracts nationally touring musicians.
  • It's open late, so it's also a place to stop by for a nightcap.
British Dictionary definitions for nightcap


a bedtime drink, esp an alcoholic or hot one
a soft cap formerly worn in bed
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
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Word Origin and History for nightcap

also night-cap, late 14c., "covering for the head, worn in bed," from night + cap (n.). In the alcoholic sense, it is attested from 1818. American English sense of "final event in a sporting contest" (especially the second game of a baseball double-header) is from 1939.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for nightcap


  1. A drink taken just before going to bed or the last drink of the evening, esp an alcoholic drink: Let's stop at Joe's for a nightcap (1818+)
  2. The second game of a doubleheader (1917+ Baseball)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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