Words: chug-a-lug, v.

THE TILL never lies. There are bad times just around the corner. This was the thrust of a recent piece in The New York Times by Charles Morris, who laments the city's dependence upon the volatile products of Wall Street. When the markets boom, youthful bankers in handmade shirts and English shoes chug-a-lug Chateau-Margaux, governments go on binges of borrowing and building . . ."

The expression means to drink without pausing for breath. It was certainly in use by the 1930s, and consistently since, as in John Lahr's novel Hot to Trot: "I chug-a-lugged a Ballantine." Chug-a-lug contests are doubtless as vulgar as our own yard-of-ale sessions, but are surely redeemed by giving rise to such splendid onomatopoeia.

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