What Does Hit The Bottle Mean?

Hit the Bottle Meaning

Definition: To drink alcohol, especially in an excessive manner.

Synonymous expressions include hit the booze and hit the sauce.

Origin of Hit the Bottle

This expression carries the connotation of drinking alcohol to excess. Hit the booze and hit the bottle both gained popularity in the early 1900s, especially during the era of prohibition.

The phrase itself comes from the fact that alcohol typically comes in a bottle, such as a bottle of beer or wine. The word hit in the expression may come from hitting the bottle back down to the table after taking a drink. It is also possible that it comes from the older definition of hit, meaning to meet, since the bottle meets the mouth.

Examples of Hit the Bottle

hitting the bottleIn the first example, two employees are talking together about their weekends.

Marcus: I’m glad it’s finally Friday! Do you have any plans for the weekend?

Patsy: No, not really. Tomorrow night I’m going to a small dinner gathering with some friends.

Marcus: Ah, so you’re going to hit the bottle, right?

Patsy: I wouldn’t say that. I might have a glass of wine or two, but I don’t plan on getting drunk.

Marcus: I’m just kidding. I know you’re not a big drinker.

meaning of hit the bottleIn the second example, a husband and wife are discussing the husband’s alcohol problem.

Donny: I’m going to go meet my friends at the bar.

Alison: You promised me that you wouldn’t drink any more.

Donny: I’m not going to drink anything. I’m just going to play some pool.

Alison: I hope you’re telling the truth because your personality completely changes when you hit the bottle. You get really mean.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about graduating from DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) court.

  • She was already a heavy drinker in 2010, she said, when she learned she had breast cancer. During chemotherapy and radiation, she was too sick to drink. But when her treatments were complete, and her doctor said things were looking good, she hit the bottle again – this time to celebrate. –OC Register

This excerpt is from an article about wine.

  • As wine writer Patrick Comiskey points out, this is a good year to hit the bottle, so why not expand your drinking horizons a little. Try orange wines, bottles of white wine beyond Chardonnay, wines from beyond Napa, Australian wines and more. –LA Times


The idiom hit the bottle means to imbibe alcoholic beverages in order to get drunk.