you were down

taraa

Senior Member
Persian
What does "down" mean?

"Your partner's late really late. They open their mouth to explain, but you've already smelt alcohol on their breath.This happens every week; and you know they are going to say they were at work. So you say "And don't tell me you were working late. You were down the pub!"
 
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  • Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    What does "down" mean?

    "Your partner's late really late. They open their mouth to explain, but you've already smelt alcohol on their breath.This happens every week; and you know they are going to say they were at work. So you say "And don't tell me you were working late. You were down the pub!"
    This is British usage, and perhaps Australian. You would never hear this from a North American speaker (unless they were trying to sound British). We understand it though and I personally think it sounds quaint.

    I think the difference is that in old fashioned British neighborhoods there was often a pub within walking distance and people frequented their "local" (local pub). So it would be natural to say "you've been down (at) the pub" since there is probably one obvious pub.

    In North America there are far fewer bars compared to 20 th century Britain and the bars tend not to be in residential areas. Prohibition in the 1920s took out all the neighborhood bars. So most people don't live in proximity to a local pub.

    The equivalent expression in North America is " you've been out drinking." There's no assumption you've been to THE pub in particular.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    This is British usage, and perhaps Australian. You would never hear this from a North American speaker (unless they were trying to sound British). We understand it though and I personally think it sounds quaint.

    I think the difference is that in old fashioned British neighborhoods there was often a pub within walking distance and people frequented their "local" (local pub). So it would be natural to say "you've been down (at) the pub" since there is probably one obvious pub.

    In North America there are far fewer bars compared to 20 th century Britain and the bars tend not to be in residential areas. Prohibition in the 1920s took out all the neighborhood bars. So most people don't live in proximity to a local pub.

    The equivalent expression in North America is " you've been out drinking." There's no assumption you've been to THE pub in particular.
    Thank you very much.
    I couldn't find this meaning of "down" (at) in the dictionary.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Sometimes you need to find slang dictionaries for particular counties. Standard educated English is not that different between North America and Britain or Australia. But casual language, slang, and regional dialects can be very different. Usually they won't be in the dictionary.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Sometimes you need to find slang dictionaries for particular counties. Standard educated English is not that different between North America and Britain or Australia. But casual language, slang, and regional dialects can be very different. Usually they won't be in the dictionary.
    Thank you very much. :)
     
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