Live English Open Dictionary

Open Dictionary word of the week: pre-drinking

pre-drinking (noun)

(also pre-lash)

the practice of drinking alcohol at home before going out to a club or pub, in order to save money

Trust me when I say that ‘pre-drinking’ will save you LOADS if you do it correctly.

(Submitted from United Kingdom)

Well. A number of things: It’s sad, isn’t it? We are usually more creative, more … enthusiastic on this subject. When it comes to drinking we get trollied, wasted, aled up, arseholed, hammered, hosed, caned, lashed, paralytic, plastered, newted, smashed, ripped, parcel forced; we go out of our heads, out of our minds, out of our skulls – out of everything above the neck, we go out of our trees too, or just out of ‘it’; we go on a bender, on the sauce, on the piss; we get off our faces, arses and tits and, finally we find ourselves under the table. But it seems that when it comes to drinking-before-drinking (?) we are not inspired at all. We ‘pre-drink’. And, apparently, if you do this pre-drinking correctly it saves you loads. Loads of creative inspiration?

Also, we must surmise from this that alcoholic beverages drunk before leaving the house do not count as drinking. They are mysterious things that happen prior to drinking. They are what you do before you do drinking. Ah, the thrill of teasing out that subtlety when explaining into two faces of one police officer that you cannot be drunk as a lord, a rat or a skunk because you have not been drinking but pre-drinking. The law has not caught up with the times.

Basically, this term is a let-down. Let’s do something about it: a better word for the drinking that you do before doing the drinking that gets you squiffy, sozzled, munted, motherless, buckled, guttered and torn without breaking the bank. Ideas? Please …

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Laine Redpath Cole


  • Yes, I agree. For years I have been wondering whether there is an English term for a term we use to describe what we did each weekend to save money when we were still pupils and did not have much money. Finally there is one but I must admit, I am quite disappointed. We use the term ‘vorglühen’ (at least in Austrian German, don’t know about German German) and this word is the same word to use when describing what drivers of diesel cars need to do before they can start the engine. It is somehow more to the point, I would say….

  • I and a lot of people in my surrounding use the word pre-drinking, but by none of us it is supposed to mean something that comes before drinking. It means to drink before something and can be the same thing as pre-partying which means partying before a party.

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