Why do we say ‘one for the road’?

I’m disappointed. Sometime ago I watched an Adam Hart-Davis history programme about ‘ye olde London’, and he said that the phrase ‘one for the road’ originated from the fact that when prisoners were taken to their place of execution (the Tyburn Tree near Marble Arch) they were allowed to take drinks at the pubs along the way. Something like a ‘last meal’ I imagine. Turns out that this is just a myth, the phrase has no hidden meaning, it just crept up out of everyday speech, and says exactly what it means. You have one last drink before you leave a pub, party, some friends… you have ‘one for the road’. I mean logically the drink you just finished could have been the one for the road if you’d got up sooner. But it’s a nice way of declaring your exit, or perhaps even taking a moment to build up your dutch courage for whatever it is you have to face (which you have been avoiding by staying in the pub). But I wouldn’t recommend that extra drink or two, that sort of behaviour gets you into hospital, in trouble with the neighbours, and into some bad photos on facebook.

(Dates are sketchy as to when it actually originated. It is generally suspected to have come into use in the thirties, and popularised in forties music.)

[carried over from ‘anyadditionalinformation’ wordpress blog]

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