tumbler (beverage container)

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, the WR dictionaries say that one of the meanings of "tumber" is:

a stemless drinking glass having a flat, often thick bottom. (Random House)
a flat-bottomed drinking glass with no handle or stem. (Collins)

So I've just done a quick Google image search to see if they look like ordinary glasses.
Strangely, the vast majority of the containers displayed there aren't glasses. What's going on!?



tumbler - Google Search

If I went to a department store in your country and asked
"Excuse me, I'm looking for tumblers.", would they think I'm looking for large glasses, or non-glass, tall mugs with a lid like the ones shown above?
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    They would think you are looking for things like the ones in the picture. All of them would be in the same part of the store, since all of them are used with drinkable liquids.

    They may be used to drink out of, or (if there is a lid) to mix ingredients by shaking, or to carry liquids and drink them on-the-go (all the ones with a lid and a straw are on-the-go ones).

    I think the "drinking glass" meaning is the oldest one, and new meanings got added when new products are created and we need to call them something.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi meijin

    I would think you were looking for glasses of approximately the size and shape of the ones below.

    Like you, I was surprised by those stainless steel images.

    glitz_tumbler_pair.jpg
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Like Loob, I would immediately think of the glass variety, and generally squat rather than tall (and a thick bottom too, as mentioned by Random House). In any case, something appropriate to serve whisky, like so!
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Rule no.1 Googling an image is not the same as Googling a meaning. Google can't find images. Google finds the word you ask for, and shows you the nearest image which may or may not be an apt illustration of the word. Google Santa image and you'll be given pictures of sleighs, reindeer, film posters, whiskey, farmers' markets, tropical islands and the Moulin Rouge...

    Rule no.2 Salesmen will add key words to their images to maximise the chances of you coming across them. These key words, once again, may not be apt descriptions of the images.

    Rule no.3 (Really this should be number 1) If you want an accurate definition, go to a dictionary, not Google.

    Now, about this tumbler business. A tumbler was originally a vessel that tumbled, i.e. it couldn't stand upright because it didn't have a flat base or a foot. This was usually the case with early drinking horns, metal cups and, often, blown glasses before their makers gave them a punty. There's nothing specific about a tumbler that says it must be made of glass.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I think of a tumbler as the ordinary kind of glass for drinking milk or lemonade from, or leaving false teeth in. A plastic tumbler makes sense, because plastic is often used to make robust copies of such things. The steel ones are a surprise, however; even seeing them in a shop, I wouldn't know what to call them.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you all very much for the replies. I didn't mention this in the original post, but that kind of stainless steel containers are actually called tumblers in Japan (like in India, and in the US too?)


    Rule no.1 Googling an image is not the same as Googling a meaning. Google can't find images. Google finds the word you ask for, and shows you the nearest image which may or may not be an apt illustration of the word.
    Of course I'm aware of this.

    Rule no.2 Salesmen will add key words to their images to maximise the chances of you coming across them. These key words, once again, may not be apt descriptions of the images.
    I'm aware of this too. At the same time, salesmen add such key words because they know shoppers use those words as keywords when doing a search, meaning that those shoppers call the stainless steel containers tumblers (but they may not be native English speakers, of course).

    Rule no.3 (Really this should be number 1) If you want an accurate definition, go to a dictionary, not Google.
    Yes, that's why I consulted the dictionaries first, didn't I? Maybe you missed that part?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would say plastic cup or metal (steel) cup for those. I think we can disregard the original meaning - our tumblers don't tumble!
     
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