The Origins of Old Sayings

Where did 'one for the road' come from?

Derek Kell who was born in Acton and now lives in Australia - has written and queried the explanation of the saying 'one for the road'.

One theory was that when convicted criminals were taken to Tyburn for execution they were often allowed ‘one for the road’ - with the suggestion that many about to be hanged may have had their last drink in the Acton pub The Kings Arms.

Derek says this is not quite correct.

He says '' I believe that in the days of public executions publicans offered drinks to the attendants of a wagon conveying condemned men to the gallows. The condemned men themselves were not allowed a drink, they had to stay on the wagon. Hence, nowadays, if someone has given up alcohol there are said to be 'on the wagon’.

'One for the road' is the final drink at a pub or friend’s house before departing for home. Traditionally it was a strong drink that would sustain you on your walk through inclement weather. The Scots call it a ‘deoch-an-doruis’ (anglicized to ‘doch-an-doris’) meaning a dram at the door.''


Thanks to Derek for that - anybody know differently or got any other origins of sayings?


8th March 2015


Bookmark and Share