“Have a pint”

In the UK, to have a pint means to have some beer with some mates. Could be a proper pint, could be a half-pint (unlikely), could be several pints, could be one or more twelve-ounce bottles. The usage appears to be catching on in the U.S., as witness:

“Beer guru picks the 10 best places in Michigan to have a pint.” Headline, Detroit Free Press, May 21, 2012

“Bethel Woods hosts its annual Chili Day in October, a chance to head out, grab a pint, grab a wooden spoon and go to town.” Middletown [New York] Times Herald-Record, September 29, 2011

“The Union pawning [Danny] Califf lifts his six-figure salary off the books but it also removed one of the few outspoken personalities in the locker room. Califf was a leader as much on the field as off, visiting hospitals and reading books at schools and known to have a pint or two with supporters.” Philly.com, May 17, 2012.

The last item, about the Philadelphia Union soccer team’s trading a player, reminds me that I have been promised a guest post by a well-known authority about football (soccer) terms that have caught on these shores. Presumably, “supporters” (fans) will be included. I frankly don’t know if pawn is BrE for our trade. I look forward to finding out.

14 responses to ““Have a pint”

  1. Pawning is both BrE and AmE – it specifically refers to trading something in for money, usually at an amusingly-named pawn shop. There’s a show on the History Channel called Pawn Stars about the practice.

  2. Beer is considered the Everyman’s drink, so to have a pint, both here and abroad, means to be one of the guys. Although I’m not, many of my friends are descendants of Chicago’s Irish diaspora, and we casually say “let’s have a pint” when we plan to enjoy some Guinness. Oddly, we say “let’s grab some beer” when we’re getting Pabst Blue Ribbon.
    A pint, of course, is a unit of measure. Your mention of the half-pint reminded me of the Australian schooner, which is roughly 250 mL. However, the schooners at Southern California’s Karl Strauss Brewery have a 500mL. capacity.

  3. Well, to pawn is not quite to trade in, but to leave an object with a pawnbroker as security for a loan, to be redeemed (it is hoped) later. In Britain, at least, pawnbrokers’ shops often carry three golden spheres outside, the traditional symbol of their trade.

  4. If I asked for a pint in a US ‘pub’, how much would I get? 16 fluid ounces or 20? That might be one popular Britishism!

    • Most American bars, even the ones dressed up as pubs, offer the 16 oz. pint.

      • Cameron Majidi

        Actually those “pint” glasses in most American bars are most often half-liters.

    • Are you talking American fluid ounces or Imperial? They aint the same y’know!
      Best to stick to millilitres as a reference, at least they’re unambiguous. A proper pint is 568ml. Anything less and you’ve been had.

  5. Pawn would never be used in British English in the context of a Football Player moving from one club to another.
    They could be Sold or Transferred (Transfers can be Free) to another club permanently, Loaned to another club temporarily, or Released (contract terminated and left as a free agent to find another club)

  6. Yup, have a Pint, or as allot of my mates from London say ‘ go for a cheeky half’, this also applies to drug taking, in that it’s half of something, being a tester before you take a full pill or tablet.

  7. Richard Dale (@randomxnp)

    A pint is 568 ml; a US pint is 473 ml. You guys get short changed even if you manage to find decent beer in a bar😉

    • Blame the Revolution: if Washington and co. had hung on a bit until the Imperial system replaced the Queen Anne system (throughout the empire) in the mid-1830s, they’d have proper pints now as well.

  8. Wait till the phrase “I could murder a pint” take off…

  9. My husband (in the UK) always goes “for a swift half”. This means two pints. This is if he goes out alone to the local pub on the expectation of encountering acquaintances. If he arranges to meet a friend at the pub, it’s “I’m meeting X for a pint”. This means at least three pints.

    We have been married for 31 years and I have total confidence in these interpretations.

  10. Pingback: A Fellow Tidbitter’s FA Cup Fixation — Tidbits of Experience

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