Tie one on

Posted by Bruce Kahl on May 10, 2000

In Reply to: Tie one on posted by ESC on May 10, 2000

: : what does the phrase "tie one on" really mean, and where does it come from??

: : many thanks,
: : shannon dealing

: From "The Wordsworth Book of Euphemism" by Judith S. Neaman and Carole G. Silver (Wordsworth Reference, New York, 1983, 1990) -- "Tie one on, to - To get drunk. (Eric) Partridge suggests that this expression is derived from 'hang one on' (ca. 1935), which originated in the United States and was later adopted in Canada. It is clear that a 'hangover' -- more politely, 'the morning after' -- is the miserable memento of having 'hung' or 'tied one on.' We are uncertain as to why drinking is described as tieing, hanging or belting..."

Some sites claim that the phrase "tie one on" dates back to the wild west here in the US in the 1800's where a cowboy would have to tie up his horse to a hitching post before he could go into the saloon and get drunk. I don't think so!

The OED compares "tie one on" to the British slang phrase "tie a bun on," also meaning "to get drunk." Maybe some of our UK friends could shed some light on this.