"package store"

Karl J. Krahnke krahnke at LAMAR.COLOSTATE.EDU
Thu Aug 31 21:52:25 UTC 2000

A possible age dimension (that says nothing about its origin):

I just asked my 35 student undergraduate class how many of them knew the term.
To my surprise, *none* did.  We are in Colorado, but the students represent
quite a variety of backgrounds.  They are almost all under 24 years old.

Karl Krahnke

Elizabeth Phillips wrote:

> Mr. Safire is interested in the origin of the term "package store," which
> Sen. Lieberman used in his speech at the DNC....
> According to the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (1977), the
> term was widely used after Prohibition as a euphemism for "liquor store" --
> "The expressions 'barroom' and 'liquor store' were ... taboo in many
> districts. So the euphemism 'package goods store' became widely used--later
> cut down to simple 'package store.'The meaning is simple: in such stores
> liquor is sold only in sealed containers (packages) for off-premises
> consumption." (Similar to Webster's 3rd. ed.: "a retail store where
> alcoholic beverages are sold by the bottle for drinking off the premises.")
> The OED cites an 1890 court decision reported in the Daily News of that
> year: "Judge Forster [of Kansas] recently decided that liquor could only be
> sold in 'original packages', which is construed as meaning one or more
> bottles of beer of whisky."
> Would any of you happen to have additional knowledge of the term's origin
> or history?
> Thanks for your help.
> Sincerely,
> Elizabeth Phillips
> Research Assistant
> "On Language"

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