• one for the road

    an alcoholic drink


one for the road = Absacker, letztes alkoholisches Getränk; einen zum Abgewöhnen


In the press

“It’s not ONE FOR THE ROAD, it’s none for the road,”

Scottish “Don’t drink and drive“ campaign

Did you know?

​one for the road
informal phrase

- a final drink before leaving a place

Cambridge Dictionary


There is a suggestion that this phrase derives from the supposed practice of offering condemned prisoners a final drink at pubs on the way to the the place of public execution in London - The Tyburn Tree, but this isn't supported by historical record.

In fact, it is a 20th century phrase and came into being around the time of the outbreak of the Second World War. However, the 'for the road' element does have its genesis in earlier days.

Travellers didn’t always have the opportunity to stop for a meal or a drink whenever it suited them. In 18th century England food outlets would have been few and far between. If travellers wanted to eat on their journey they had to take their food with them. Whatever provision one made for one's journey was said to be 'for the road'.

The first uses of 'one for the road', in which the 'one' is always an alcoholic drink, are found in print in the 1930s.

adapted from Gary Martin (The Phrase Finder)

Other “one“ phrases include

- a one-hit wonder
- in one fell swoop
- one over the eight
- one sandwich short of a picnic
- one small step for man
- a one-stop shop
- pne swallow doesn't make a summer


a final drink, one last drink

Say something like:

“I’m happy to have ONE FOR THE ROAD if Louise is the designated driver.“


Thanks to Nick for suggesting today's word

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