bomber (beer)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Jul 29 15:36:58 UTC 2013

My instant but probably incorrect and superficial speculation is the
notion that one could get "bombed" on a single bottle, which is not
(or was not thought -- hoped? -- to be) possible on one bottle of the
smaller, common 8- and 16-oz. sizes.  I wonder how long one's blood
alcohol level remains over the legal limit after one "bomber" bottle,
compared to 8 or 16 ozs.

As for the OED, "bombed, adj. 2" sense 2 is present, from 1959 (not
clear if that date applies to drink as well as drugs; 1964 does apply
to drink).  But "bomb, n." and "bomb, v." don't include drink,
presumably because those parts of speech have not migrated from drugs
to drink.  (One may "bomb" a horse with drugs, but apparently not a
person with drink.)


At 7/28/2013 02:28 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>A dispute has erupted on Beer Advocate forums on the origin of the term
>"bomber" in reference to 22-oz. bottles of beer. The term seems to be
>fairly narrow and does not apply to 1/2-liter or 750cc-champagne-style
>bottles. For obvious reasons, there are strong suspicions of
>aviation-related origin, although no one has been able to point as to
>why "bomber" might be an appropriate term. A couple of "B-22"
>suggestions quickly got shut down when it was pointed out B-22 was never
>a production bomber.
>I have not researched the issue other than checking the OED, which has a
>couple of "bomber" offshoots without discussing the origin--"marijuana
>cigarette" (presumably an inordinately large joint) from the 1950s, and
>barbiturates from mid-to-late-1960s. UD lists the beer definition (also
>suggesting that wine magnums are identified as "bombers"), along with
>"large joint" and "ecstasy pills" and a bunch of other definitions that
>appear to be made up (other than one for shortening of "bomber jacket").
>Other bottle sizes are "forty" (obvious), "growler" (two liter,
>half-gallon) and "half-growler" or "mini-growler" (all three are applied
>to 1-liter or 1-quart bottle, usually screw-top). The 750cc bottle does
>not have a special name, except in Australia where it's a "tallie" and
>Canada and South Africa where it is supposedly (Wiki) a "quart". Of
>course, in the US and UK, a 750cc bottle of liquor is a "fifth". I've
>also recently encountered the use of "handle" in reference to 1.75-L
>liquor bottles, irrespectively of them having a handle or being made of
>plastic or glass.
>I would appreciate any help in sorting all of this out.
>     VS-)
>PS: Most dictionaries only have two entries for "bomber", viz. 1) a
>military aircraft designed for dropping bombs, and 2) a person who
>makes, plants or sets off bombs (with extended variants, e.g. Unabomber,
>suicide bomber). RH Unabridged and MWOLD recognize the shortening of
>"bomber jacket". and WordNet allow for a regionalism for
>"a large sandwich" on a long crusty roll  (sub, grinder, hoagie, hero,
>torpedo?). MWOLD also adds successful long-distance shooter in
>basketball (cf. "bomb"==big shot).
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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