General English


  • noun a small bribe, tip or other financial inducement. Originally, in London working-class usage, it meant literally the price of an (alcoholic) drink. Now it usually refers to a more substantial sum and is sometimes extended to a share in an attractive venture, or a ‘piece of the action’. As an item of British police and underworld slang, it was given wider currency by TV series such as Minder.


  • noun liquid which someone swallows

Origin & History of “drink”

Drink comes ultimately from a prehistoric Germanic verb *drengkan, which is widely represented in other modern Germanic languages: German trinken, for instance, Dutch drinken, Swedish dricka, and Danish drikke. Variants of it also produced English drench and drown. Its pre-Germanic history is not clear, however: some have suggested that the original underlying notion contained in it is of ‘sucking liquid in or up’, and that it is thus related to English draw (a parallel semantic connection has been perceived between Latin dūcere ‘lead, draw’ and the related tsuk- ‘drink’ in Tocharian A, an extinct Indo-European language of central Asia).