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A holiday is a perfect time to get acquainted with many things; sun, sea, sand… and alcohol. For better or for worse there’s nothing us Brits love more than drinking ourselves into a stupor when there’s an ocean and no work on the horizon. The fresh sea air, beaches and warmth on cheap holidays abroad makes them perfect for both partaking in a drinking session and recovering from the night before’s over-indulgence.
This has happened since the advent of package holidays and this summer will be no different, as millions of Brits flock abroad with the sole intention of drinking in the sunshine. What of the phrases they’ll use to describe their evening’s plans however? The innumerable ways used to describe how inebriated they intend on getting and remarks on the alcohol-induced state they are/were in.
We’ll take a look at some of them here, and give you the back stories to the phrases a vast majority of you will have said at some point or other.
“Wet my whistle”
Some of the classier drinkers amongst you will make reference to your plans to get drunk by decreeing you intend to ‘wet your whistle’. Often misspelt as ‘whet’ (this in fact refers to whetting your appetite) the phrase dates back to the 14th Century, and is explained as simply as the throat being referred to as a whistle and that to drink would be wetting it. The explanation that glasses used to have a whistle attached that tavern patrons could blow on to get their pint refilled is, unfortunately, a load of rubbish.
“A few scoops”
An Irish phrase; ‘a few scoops’ translates to ‘would you like to come out for some drinks?’. ‘Fancy a scoop’ is a variation that ‘means would you like a drink?’ and has its origins in a literal definition of the word scoop. Scoop was once scope, which itself is derived from the Middle Dutch word schope, and referred to a bucket that bailed water. Replace water for beer and you’ve got your scoop!
‘Lionel’ is a modern term used to describe exactly how intoxicated one is going to get, is currently or was. It’s derived from one of the planet’s preeminent footballers, Barcelona and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, and is a play on his surname. To go out and get ‘messy’ is a phrase used to mean the exact same thing and, though spelt differently, some bright sparks realised that it was pronounced the same as the Argentinean maestro’s last name. Please note that if you’re inclined to go out and get Lionel, it won’t result in you playing like him.
“On the lash”
Quite literally meaning ‘out drinking heavily’, ‘on the lash’ is believed to have it’s origins in a naval disciplinary action. Sailors who had committed offences deemed worthy of physical punishment were whipped, most commonly by the cat o’ nine tails (a multi-tailed leather whip). These whippings were referred to as ‘lashings’ and to cope with the pain that followed, the sailors were given alcohol to numb the pain, making the punished mariners the first lads out on the lash.
Where better to finish than at the ubiquitous pre-drink toast ‘cheers’? There is no definitive explanation as to how the phrase came about but there are some excellent stories used to try and do so. The most common of which is that clinking your containers together showed that neither of the toasters had poisoned the other’s drink, as contents sloshed between the beverages in the hearty movement. Another story is that clinking was to ward off spirits as the noise of goblets resembled that of church bells and as such scared the devil away. Unfortunately the sound of wooden tankards clinking doesn’t, which renders that explanation a load of codswallop.
Be it city breaks to Nice or cheap Tenerife holidays, no matter where you go on your jollies enjoy your drinks responsibly.
Cheers, Salud and Yiamas!
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Cal is a scribe who’s comfortable writing about any one of his passions, but not himself. A player of several instruments, Cal’s fondness for music is equated with his love of football, writing, drawing and travel.