Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bouse n.

also bouze, bowse
[Du. buizen or Ger. bausen, to drink to excess. The OED’s first use is c.1300, but this may be only the drinking vessel, not its contents; the Du. term too is rooted in buise, a large drinking vessel. Although bouse can be found in ME, its popularity came with its Und. usage ]

1. (UK Und.) drink; thus ben bouse, good drink; for later uses see also booze n.

[UK]R. Copland Hye Way to the Spyttel House line 1052: For the bene bouse my watch hath a coyn.
[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 83: bowse drinke.
[UK]Dekker Belman’s Second Nights Walk B3: For the bene bowse my watch hath a win.
[UK]Dekker O per se O L4: Their Ben Bouse (the strong Liquor) causing them to haue Nase Nabs (drunken Coxcombes) up fling they the Cannes.
[UK]Massinger New Way to Pay Old Debts I i: No bouze? Nor no Tobacco?
[UK]Dekker ‘Canting Song’ in Eng. Villainies (8th edn) O2: Ben Bowse thou shalt Bowse thy fill.
[UK]R. Brome Jovial Crew II i: This Bowse is better than Rum-bowse, / It sets the Gan a-gigling.
[UK]T. Randolph Hey for Honesty III i: I’ll stand the pad [...] Nip bungs, dupp gibbers leager, louse and bouse.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue [as cit. 1612].
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] Bowse, Drink.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Bowse, c. Drink.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 203: Bowse, drink, or to drink.
[UK]Defoe Street Robberies Considered 30: Bouse, Drink.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 105: One of the chief of them took a Gage of Bouze, which is a Quart of Drink.
[Ire]K. O’Hara Midas III ii: Come, let’s take one bouze, and roar a catch.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 10: Ancient cant, bowse.
[UK]W.H. Davies Beggars 103: The wandering beggar says ‘skimish’ for drink, but city beggars say ‘bouse’.

2. a toast.

[UK] ‘The Beggars’ Wedding’ in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads (1878) II 875: Then to the house / The bridegroom brought the bride, all drink a bowse.