Franconia Beer Message Board

Corona Bamberg brewpubs
Posted by Barry Taylor on 2020-03-22 07:10:24
Thanks Jim, I haven't seen that, I just used my own resources, as I have a lot of books on etymology.  but I don't have much (or anything) on the etymology of US-English).  Purely as a subjective reaction, I would be suspicious of that origin of growler - it just sounds much too simplistic.  Given that much of US-English, particularly older slang has its origins in older British slang, I would veer towards the origins suggested by Partridge.  

Its usage in slang to refer to a part of the famale anatomy (sorry lady readers) is, apparently, more common in Ireland - its the only usage defined in Bernard Share's book: Slanguage: a dictionary of Irish slang.  However, I must say that I never heard it used in that way during my time there - but I kept very polite company!  Consequently, its introduction as a container for beer has led to many unfortunate jokes in that country - apparently!

It seems that the word used to refer to a measure of beer equal to 1/8th of a barrel, which, in the Imperial system is 36 gallons, thus a growler would be 4.5 gallons, a measure that we now call a pin - something not unlike a modern growler and getting towards another more feasible origin of the word.

Thanks for the origin of crowler.  When normal communications resume, I must ask Andy of the Black Cloak where he got crowler from.  Presumably, the manufacturers of the system that he uses for takeaways.

As to a replacement word, sorry, no suggestions.  Although the practice of buying beer as an off-sale from pubs was common in the UK in the past, I don't think that there was ever a specific word for a beer container.  Presumably, because people used whatever they had available (jugs, bottles, etc.).  I gather from Jason's suggestions that growler came into usage in the UK in the early 2000s, presumably after I left the UK; certainly I'd never heard the word in this context until I returned in 2017.  Now, as it seems likely the USA is recycling a word of 'ancient' British origin, in a bout of unusual patriotism, I will not object to its return!
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