Drink like a fish
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Drink like a fish'?
To 'drink like a fish' is to drink heavily, especially of alcoholic drink.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Drink like a fish'?
Clearly an allusion to fishes' close association with water and their apparent open-mouthed taking in of water is the source of 'drink like a fish'. Freshwater fish actually take in water by absorption rather than by drinking, although sea fish do actively drink seawater.
Sea fish do actually drink seawater - don't try this at home.
The phrase is known since 1640 and appears in Fletcher and Shirley's The Night-walker, or the Little Theife, from that date:
"Give me the bottle, I can drink like a Fish now, like an Elephant."
'Drink like an elephant' didn't catch on.
There is a more recent potential boost to use 'drink like a fish'. In January 2005 a press release for the Dalian Fisherman's Song Maritime Biological Brewery in China, said that they had developed a fermentation process to make fish into wine. So now, you can 'drink, like, a fish'.