gave him so much to drink


Senior Member
"On his 21st birthday, Mike's friends gave him so much to drink that he was down for the count by 10 PM."

context: A dictionary definition for "down for the count."

question: What is implied in bold? Is this a set expression for encouraging or enabling someone to drink even despite the person not liking alcohol or Mike's friends prepared a lot of drinks of his taste that he could drink all he wants?

source: down for the count
  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Gave him so much to drink" is not a set expression. It implies nothing about encouragement or the drinker's partiality to alcohol.

    "Gave him so much to drink that he was down for the count by 10 pm" just means that the quantity of drinks that his friends gave him was sufficient to knock him out by 10.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    The basic expression is "gave drink", which merely means providing him with one or more things to drink. You would use exactly the same words for giving your dog a bowl of water to drink, or giving your distinguished visitor a glass of the finest wine to drink. Mike did not have to pay for the drinks, but there is nothing within just these words to say that he was compelled to drink whatever was given him, or that he was not offered a choice.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    But there is U.S. cultural knowledge built in which strongly implies that although they weren't forcing him, they were very likely encouraging him and perhaps even egging him on. Someone's 21st birthday party is often an excuse for them to get drunk in their first official opportunity to drink legally.