Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Bottle-holder.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
One who gives moral but not material support. The allusion is to boxing or prize-fighting, where each combatant has a bottle-holder to wipe off blood, refresh with water, and do other services to encourage his man to persevere and win.   1
        “Lord Palmerston considered himself the bottle-holder of oppressed States… . He was the steadfast partisan of constitutional liberty in every part of the world.”—The Times.



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