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The meaning and origin of the expression: Drink like a fish

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Drink like a fish

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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'?

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.

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'.