Flowing Bowl


Senior Member
German - Germany
It’s about one of the inhabitants of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn’s village:
[…] and he was Inside Sentinel of the Masons, and Outside Sentinel of the Odd Fellows, and a kind a head bung-starter or something of the Foes of the Flowing Bowl […] Tom Sawyer’s Conspiracy
The Foes of the Flowing Bowl were (are?) a temperance organization. What does the "flowing" in "Flowing Bowl" mean? "Overflowing"? "Full"?
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't think a definitive answer is possible. I take it to mean that the 'bowl' is constantly being emptied and refilled.


    Senior Member
    British English
    It means "that flows". There are many references in English literature to the "flowing bowl", meaning a vessel for drinking alcohol. It's flowing because it is regularly refilled. Here's some examples gathered from citations in the OED
    1976 Ulverston (Cumbria) News 3 Dec. 18/2 H. O. Spice, himself a modest quaffer from the flowing bowl, has discovered that Grange cannot boast of one common or garden pub.
    1746 P. Francis tr. Horace in P. Francis & W. Dunkin tr. Horace Epistles i. vii. 37 And o'er the flowing Bowl, in sighing Strain, [give me] To talk of wanton Cinera's Disdain.
    1840 H. W. Longfellow Skeleton in Armour xx, There from the flowing bowl Deep drinks the warrior's soul, Skoal! to the Northland! Skoal!
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