Adam's ale

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Attested 1643.[1] Reference to the only drink available to Adam, the first man in the biblical tradition, while in Eden.


Adam's ale (uncountable)

  1. (humorous, idiomatic) Water.
    Synonym: Adam's wine
    • 1643, William Prynne, “The Soveraigne Povver of Parliaments & Kingdomes. []”, in The Soveraigne Povver of Parliaments and Kingdomes: Divided into Fovre Parts. Together with an Appendix: [], printed at London: For Michael Sparke Senior, OCLC 22720680, page 32:
      [T]hey have beene ſhut up in priſons and dungeons lying on the cold ground, ſtones or boards without beds, ſtraw, fire or any the leaſt refreſhment; allowed onely a poore pittance of Adams Ale, and ſcarce a penny bread a day to ſupport their lives, though their friends would provide it for them; [...]
    • 2017, Fiona Farrell, Decline and Fall on Savage Street, →ISBN, page 59:
      She had loaded Floss into the basket, tied a sugarbag containing necessities—sketch pad, pencils, corned beef sandwiches wrapped in newsprint, a bottle of water from the garden tap, the best water, the clearest, Adam's ale — to the frame of her bicycle and set off, Floss sits up in the basket, looking ahead, though of course she can't see, but her nose is up, her world a dizzy palette of smell, as clear and bright as it is to Sybil, pedalling carefully along the river and down Fitzgerald Avenue towards the hills.


  1. ^ Gary Martin (1997–), “Adam’s ale”, in The Phrase Finder, retrieved 26 February 2017.