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[dring-king] /ˈdrɪŋ kɪŋ/
suitable or safe to drink:
drinking water.
used in drinking:
a drinking glass.
addicted to or indulging excessively in alcohol:
Is he a drinking man?
of or relating to the act of drinking, especially the drinking of alcohol:
a drinking companion.
habitual and excessive consumption of alcohol:
His drinking caused him to lose his job.
Origin of drinking
Middle English word dating back to 1125-75; See origin at drink, -ing2, -ing1
Related forms
undrinking, adjective


[dringk] /drɪŋk/
verb (used without object), drank or (Nonstandard) drunk, drunk or, often drank, drinking.
to take water or other liquid into the mouth and swallow it; imbibe.
to imbibe alcoholic drinks, especially habitually or to excess; tipple:
He never drinks. They won't find jobs until they stop drinking.
to show one's respect, affection, or hopes with regard to a person, thing, or event by ceremoniously taking a swallow of wine or some other drink (often followed by to):
They drank to his victory.
to be savored or enjoyed by drinking:
a wine that will drink deliciously for many years.
verb (used with object), drank or (Nonstandard) drunk, drunk or, often drank, drinking.
to take (a liquid) into the mouth and swallow.
to take in (a liquid) in any manner; absorb.
to take in through the senses, especially with eagerness and pleasure (often followed by in):
He drank in the beauty of the scene.
to swallow the contents of (a cup, glass, etc.).
to propose or participate in a toast to (a person, thing, or event):
to drink one's health.
any liquid that is swallowed to quench thirst, for nourishment, etc.; beverage.
liquor; alcohol.
excessive indulgence in alcohol:
Drink was his downfall.
a swallow or draft of liquid; potion:
She took a drink of water before she spoke.
Informal. a large body of water, as a lake, ocean, river, etc. (usually preceded by the):
His teammates threw him in the drink.
before 900; Middle English drinken, Old English drincan; cognate with Dutch drinken, German trinken, Gothic drinkan, Old Norse drekka
Related forms
outdrink, verb (used with object), outdrank or (Nonstandard) outdrunk; outdrunk or, often outdrank; outdrinking.
overdrink, verb (used with object), overdrank or (Nonstandard) overdrunk; overdrunk or, often overdrank; overdrinking.
2. tope. 5. quaff. 9. toast.
Synonym Study
5.Drink, imbibe, sip refer to swallowing liquids. Drink is the general word: to drink coffee. Imbibe is formal in reference to actual drinking; it is used more often in the sense to absorb: to imbibe culture. Sip implies drinking little by little: to sip a cup of broth.
Usage note
As with many verbs of the pattern sing, sang, sung and ring, rang, rung, there is some confusion about the forms for the past tense and past participle of drink. The historical reason for this confusion is that originally verbs of this class in Old English had a past-tense singular form in a but a past-tense plural form in u. Generally the form in a has leveled out to become the standard past-tense form: We drank our coffee. However, the past-tense form in u, though considered nonstandard, occurs often in speech: We drunk our coffee.
The standard and most frequent form of the past participle of drink in both speech and writing is drunk: Who has drunk all the milk? However, perhaps because of the association of drunk with intoxication, drank is widely used as a past participle in speech by educated persons and must be considered an alternate standard form: The tourists had drank their fill of the scenery. See also drunk. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for drinking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Malbone, greedy of emotion, was drinking to the dregs a passion that could have no to-morrow.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • She also saw that Dick was abnormally excited, and suspected that he had been drinking.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • He was smoking his big briar and drinking a huge glass of brown beer.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • He had bit the heel of more than one man in his drinking bouts.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • While she was drinking her second cup of tea her eyes kept roving.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for drinking


verb drinks, drinking, drank (dræŋk), drunk (drʌŋk)
to swallow (a liquid); imbibe
(transitive) to take in or soak up (liquid); absorb: this plant drinks a lot of water
(transitive) usually foll by in. to pay close attention (to); be fascinated (by): he drank in the speaker's every word
(transitive) to bring (oneself into a certain condition) by consuming alcohol
(transitive) often foll by away. to dispose of or ruin by excessive expenditure on alcohol: he drank away his fortune
(intransitive) to consume alcohol, esp to excess
when intr, foll by to. to drink (a toast) in celebration, honour, or hope (of)
drink someone under the table, to be able to drink more intoxicating beverage than someone
drink the health of, to salute or celebrate with a toast
(Austral, informal) drink with the flies, to drink alone
liquid suitable for drinking; any beverage
alcohol or its habitual or excessive consumption
a portion of liquid for drinking; draught
(informal) the drink, the sea
Derived Forms
drinkable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English drincan; related to Old Frisian drinka, Gothic drigkan, Old High German trinkan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for drinking

c.1200, drinkinge, verbal noun from drink (v.). Drinking problem "alcoholism" is from 1957; earlier was drinking habit (1899).



Old English drincan "to drink," also "to swallow up, engulf" (class III strong verb; past tense dranc, past participle druncen), from Proto-Germanic *drengkan (cf. Old Saxon drinkan, Old Frisian drinka, Dutch drinken, Old High German trinkan, German trinken, Old Norse drekka, Gothic drigkan "to drink"), of uncertain origin, perhaps from a root meaning "to draw." Not found outside Germanic.

Most Indo-European words for this trace to PIE *po(i)- (cf. Greek pino, Latin biber, Irish ibim, Old Church Slavonic piti, Russian pit'; see imbibe).

The noun meaning "beverage, alcoholic beverage" was in late Old English.

The noun, AS. drinc, would normally have given southern drinch (cf. drench), but has been influenced by the verb. [Weekley]
To drink like a fish is first recorded 1747.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for drinking


Related Terms

the big drink

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with drinking
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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