phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

The meaning and origin of the expression: Groggy


Other phrases about:

What's the meaning of the word 'Groggy'?

Befuddled or dopey due to drink.

What's the origin of the word 'Groggy'?

Clearly, 'groggy' is a word rather than a phrase but I've included it here because it has an interesting origin.

Most people will know that grog is a form of alcoholic drink, although perhaps not that it is made from equal parts of spirits and water - possibly the simplest of all cocktail recipes. The link between drinking grog and feeling groggy is all too obvious.

But why is grog called 'grog'? For that we have to look to a coarsely-woven fabric called grogram, which itself is a shortened form of 'gros-grain' , that is, 'coarse-grained'. We also need to enter the world of the most enthusiastic consumers of grog, that is, sailors.

Admiral Edward Vernon - aka 'Old Grog' Now step forward Admiral Edward Vernon (1684-1757), an officer in the British Royal Navy who served with distinction under the admirably-named Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, in the West Indies and elsewhere, becoming a national hero in England.

Vernon had a penchant for innovation. One of these was his habit of wearing grogram jackets to keep warm and another was his watering down of his crew's rum ration to make it less intoxicating.

The words grog and groggy appear in print in 1770 in The Gentleman's Magazine, in an article headed Eighty names for having drunk too much.

Groggy; this is a West-Indian Phrase; Rum and Water, without sugar, being called Grogg.

Given that the previous daily rum ration was half a pint, the horny-handed mariners under the admiral's command were less than pleased with his moderizing. Vernon was known as 'Old Grog' for his habit of wearing grogram and 'grog' was the name contemptuously given to the weakened rum.

Things got worse for the tars in later years as the drinks ration, which had originally been a daily gallon of beer, was reduced to a 'tot' of grog and, in 1970, abolished altogether.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Browse phrases beginning with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Full List