fill a drunkard’s grave

AlexanderIII

Senior Member
Russian
Dear all,
this from the story 'The Bolt Behind the Blue' by Dorothy Parker (1958).

I haven’t had a cocktail since—why it must be since the last time I was here. Sometimes I simply long for one—times when it’s just beginning to get dark. Well, one thing about being poor—I’ll never fill a drunkard’s grave. When you can’t afford cocktails, you have to get along without, that’s all.

It looks like fill a drunkard’s grave is an idiom meaning to die early because of heavy drinking. Is this correct?
 
  • dermott

    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    A grave in which a heavy drinker has been buried. The person in question won't end up in such a grave because they can't afford to drink that much. It doesn't necessarily mean an early death due to alcohol.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo Alex. As far as I'm aware it's not an idiom, and there's no suggestion of dying early about it. I just read it as "die a drunkard":)
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hi, Ewie,
    well, undoubtedly this is an expression one might come across rather often in the Web. Here are some examples.

    I've come across 'fill a drunkard's grave'
    "Sons of Liberty" and "Address To Washingtonians" by John Pierpont.

    It has led thousands of nature's noblemen to drunkards' and libertines' graves. "Architects of Fate" by Orison Swett Marden.

    All of the people wrote back condemning [Mark] Twain as a louse and a freeloader; two predicted that he would fill a drunkard's grave.

    I've decided that it has an idiomatic meaning only because of the quotation from REV WILLIAM RAMSEY ("The Drunkard's Doom") (though I am not sure of course)

    ...found a drunkard's grave, or a premature grave through the influence of intoxicating liquor ...
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Ah righto, Alex, fair enough. It's new to me ... or maybe it is that it's old to me: your quotes all sound a bit on the elderly side.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi, Ewie,
    well, undoubtedly this is an expression one might come across rather often in the Web. Here are some examples.

    I've come across 'fill a drunkard's grave'
    "Sons of Liberty" and "Address To Washingtonians" by John Pierpont.

    It has led thousands of nature's noblemen to drunkards' and libertines' graves. "Architects of Fate" by Orison Swett Marden.

    All of the people wrote back condemning [Mark] Twain as a louse and a freeloader; two predicted that he would fill a drunkard's grave.

    I've decided that it has an idiomatic meaning only because of the quotation from REV WILLIAM RAMSEY ("The Drunkard's Doom") (though I am not sure of course)

    ...found a drunkard's grave, or a premature grave through the influence of intoxicating liquor ...
    Yes I also found from Googling that "fill a drunkard's grave" is a phrase that recurs in anthems and sermons of the temperance movement, especially the
    Washingtonians. Washingtonian movement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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