AskDefine | Define corkscrew

Dictionary Definition

corkscrew n : a bottle opener that pulls corks [syn: bottle screw] v : move in a spiral or zigzag course [syn: spiral]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An implement for opening bottles that are sealed by a cork.
    Using a corkscrew, I opened the wine bottle.

See also


implement for opening bottles sealed by a cork


  1. To wind or twist like a corkscrew.

Extensive Definition

A corkscrew is a tool for drawing stopping corks from wine bottles. Generally, it consists of a pointed metallic helix attached to a handle. The user grips the handle and screws the metal point through the cork, entwining the cork and corkscrew so that moving one moves the other. Corkscrews are necessary because corks themselves, being small and smooth, are difficult to grip and remove. The handle of the corkscrew, often a horizontal bar of wood attached to the screw, allows for a commanding grip to ease removal of the stopper. Corkscrew handles may incorporate levers that further increase the amount of force that can be applied outwards upon the cork. Its design was derived from the gun worm which was a device used by musketmen to remove unspent charges from a musket's barrel in a similar fashion.
In 1795, the first corkscrew patent was granted to the Reverend Samuell Henshall, in England. The clergyman affixed a simple disk, now known as the Henshall Button, between the worm and the shank. The disk prevents the worm from going too deep into the cork, forces the cork to turn with the turning of the crosspiece, and thus breaks the adhesion between the cork and the neck of the bottle. The disk is designed and manufactured slightly concave on the underside, which compresses the top of the cork and helps keep it from breaking apart.

Wing corkscrew

A wing corkscrew, sometimes called a butterfly corkscrew, has two levers on either side of the worm. As the worm is twisted into the cork, the levers are raised. Pushing down the levers draws the cork from the bottle in one smooth motion. The most common design has a rack and pinion connecting the levers to the body.

Sommelier knife

A sommelier knife or waiter's friend is a corkscrew in a folding body similar to a pocket knife. An arm extends to brace against the lip of the bottle for leverage when removing the cork. Some sommelier knives have two steps on the lever, and often also a bottle opener. A small hinged knife blade is housed in the handle end for removing the foil wrapping the neck of many wine bottles. These are often considered to be the fastest corkscrews.

Twin prong cork puller

Also known as a butler's friend, the twin-prong cork puller can also be used to put the cork back into the bottle, thus allowing to sample the wine without damaging the cork. To remove the stopper, the prongs are pushed in between the cork and the neck of the bottle, and the cork can then be twisted out of the bottle. Replacing the stopper involves taking it between the two prongs, then twisting it into the bottle and pulling out the prongs.

Corkscrew collections

In August 2006 the University of California, Berkeley displayed a 1,500-item corkscrew collection at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in Kroeber Hall, on the UC campus.
Since July 2006, the Montecalvo Versiggia near Pavia, Italy is displaying a collection of over 200 different types of corkscrews.
The Greystone campus of the Culinary Institute of America has over 500 corkscrews on display in Saint Helena, California.

See also

corkscrew in Catalan: Llevataps
corkscrew in German: Korkenzieher
corkscrew in Spanish: Sacacorchos
corkscrew in French: Tire-bouchon
corkscrew in Italian: Cavatappi
corkscrew in Lithuanian: Kamščiatraukis
corkscrew in Dutch: Kurkentrekker
corkscrew in Japanese: コルクスクリュー
corkscrew in Norwegian: Korketrekker
corkscrew in Polish: Korkociąg
corkscrew in Portuguese: Saca-rolhas
corkscrew in Russian: Штопор (инструмент)
corkscrew in Sicilian: Tirabusciò
corkscrew in Finnish: Korkkiruuvi
corkscrew in Swedish: Korkskruv
corkscrew in Ukrainian: Штопор

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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