What Does Mickey Finn Mean?

Mickey Finn Meaning

Definition: A sedative.

This phrase also carries the specific connotation of a sedative that one person slips to another in a drink in order to harm that other person in some way.

Origin of Mickey Finn

Mickey Finn was a criminal who lived in Chicago who owned and operated a bar around the early 1900s. He bought sedatives and used them to poison his patrons’ drinks. When his patrons drank their beer or other liquor with this sedative, they would pass out. Finn would steal all their belongings and toss them out onto the street.

Eventually, the police caught Finn in the year 1903. Finn was a well-known part of the Chicago criminal underworld, so his name caught on as slang for the sedative.

Nowadays, most people call this drug a mickey, date rape drug, or a roofie. Common collocations include slip someone a mickey and to get roofied.

Examples of Mickey Finn

definition of mickey finn In this example, a man uses the expression while talking to his friend about the bar she is going to later in the evening.

Rodrigo: Alisha, I heard that you are going to that new bar on Main Street tonight. Is that true?

Alisha: Yes, I’m joining a few coworkers who want to see what all the hype is about.

Rodrigo: Oh, well, have fun, but also be careful. The news was saying a few patrons have been slipped a mickey.

Alisha: Are you serious? Do the police have a suspect?

Rodrigo: Not yet, but one woman was assaulted and one man was robbed.

what is a mickey finnIn the example below, two siblings are discussing the meal and the drinks that each of them made.

Luis: Okay, I think this food should be tasty enough that even Mom and Dad should enjoy it.

Stephanie: Great! And I made their favorite cocktails as well. I hope they are impressed with us and can see how adult we are acting.

Luis: Hopefully it convinces them to agree to the loan we’re asking for. And if they refuse, we can also slip them a mickey and steal all their cash!

Stephanie: Don’t even joke about something so horrible!

More Examples

This excerpt is about the origin of the idiom and appears in an article about why bartenders poison their customers.

  • A year or two later “Mickey” Finn—he was probably called that ironically, after the lovable Irish scamp of that name popularized by humor writer Ernest Jerrold; this Finn was no scamp, unless one can stretch the term to include malevolent criminality and quasi-psychotic violence—opened the Lone Star Café and Palm Garden (there was a potted palm in the back room) along with his wife, Kate Roses. –The Daily Beast

This excerpt is about the origin of the idiom and appears in an article about Chicago taverns.

  • The expression “to slip someone a mickey” comes from a South Loop bar called the Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden, circa 1900. The proprietor, known for doctoring customers’ drinks and stealing their valuables after they passed out, was Michael Finn, aka Mickey Finn. –Chicago Tribune


The phrase Mickey Finn, or mickey for short, is a term for a drug people often secretly slip into a drink to knock a person unconscious and rob or assault them.