A 'gil' of Guinness

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Arura77

Member
Spanish
Hi there!
I am translating a book by a musician from Manchester and he's telling the story of his family. At one point he says:

After he'd died my gran used to go and visit my great-grandmother every day, taking her what she called a 'gil' of Guinness from the pub which she'd sit by the fire and drink -for the iron, she said.

Does anybody know what 'gil' refers to specifically? Does it refer to a measure or a container? The fact that the author puts the word in inverted commas makes me think it's not a usual word in English. Maybe a word used in the area?

Thanks!
 
  • Arura77

    Member
    Spanish
    Hi!
    As I say, it is a book that I'm translating that has not been published yet. A memoir by a musician from Manchester.
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I think it's normally spelt with a double L, see HERE. The most probable explanation from that link is: "In some areas, a gill came to mean half a pint for both beer and milk".
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I don't want to cast doubt on what Parla and RM1 (SS) say in general, but seeing that Wiki gives various interpretations, I think in this case a half pint (10 fl. oz.) is more likely. I've never seen anyone drink a quarter pint of beer.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It is probable that everyone is correct.

    OED (and my own experience): gill: A measure for liquids, containing one fourth of a standard pint. In many districts the gill is equivalent to a half-pint, the quarter-pint being called a jack. (My emphasis.)

    (gil appears to be non-standard.)

    In my home town in the East Midlands of the UK, a gill was understood to be a ½ pint. I've only once seen anyone give an order for a gill and he received a half pint but I believe that the quarter pint measure (of the same name) is sometimes used at beer festivals as a sample.
     
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    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think we all know that there's a lack of uniformity across many of (the so-called 'standard') weights and measures. And before we get too precise, let's remind ourselves of the OP text, which contains at least one marker of doubt: "taking her what she called a 'gil' of Guinness".
     
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