water wagon n.
1. a fig. state of sobriety.
|Tough Trip Through Paradise (1977) 65: Beaver Tom had forsworn his old love, whiskey, and was going to ride on the water wagon for the remainder of his life.|
|Tales of the Ex-Tanks 71: I’ve been riding the ice wagon for four months to a day. I have been up the pole for one hundred and twenty and odd days.|
|[||Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 12: [I]i’s me on the sprinklin’ cart fer a while].|
|Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 16: Well, I’ve finally got it [i.e. alcohol] beat, old boy, an I’m the water wagon kid fer awhile, anyhow.|
|N.-Y. American 30 Apr. in Unforgettable Season (1981) 57: McGraw made some slurring remark about McGann being an ice wagon.|
|Sheriff of Dyke Hole 411: Guess you’ll ride the water-wagon fer six months — which ain’t wi’out ad-vantage to your stummick. Not a drop of liquor, mister, fer six month.|
|Taking the Count 41: Wasn’t Noah shut up in the water wagon [...] and wasn’t one of his sons a drinking man.‘Sporting Doctor’ in|
|N.Y. Tribune 8 Jan. 16/4: The Water Wagon [i.e. Prohibition], operated by your Uncle Samuel, will be quite a different cart this season. It takes an expert to fall off now.|
|Irish 33: Many tend to ride the water wagon for long periods, with a rather sanctimonious, purse-mouthed air about them, and then fall off with a mighty splash.|
2. attrib. use of sense 1.
|Sporting Times 8 Jan. 2/5: The water waggon resolution week after New Year’s Day.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 13 Oct. 19/3: Invercargill (M.L.) – the town so frequently mentioned by Archdeacon Boyce and other water-waggon jehus.|
|New York Day by Day 25 Sept. [synd. col.] A young buck who won $1,000 on a year’s water wagon wager.|
|Free To Love 33: You haven’t asked me about that water wagon proposition you wished on me, Kit.|
a temperance campaigner.
|Truth (Wellington) 22 June 1/2: The announcement of the water-waggoners that it is their intention to sacrifice national questions to their miserable fad and to vote for the boodle candidates.|
to adopt sobriety.
|You Can Search Me 19: He pulled a few snake tricks down there and in five minutes he had all the members of the Highball Association climbing the water wagon.|
in a state of sobriety.
|Mr. Jackson 72: ‘And now, have a drink.’ ‘Nope, I’m on the water wagon.’.|
|Silk Hat Harry’s Divorce Suit 5 Jan. [synd. cartoon strip] I thought that you were on the water wagon.|
|Western Times 10 Aug. 2/4: Alberta ‘On the Water Wagon’. It is now about a year since the Act came into operation in Alberta.|
|Taunton Courier 19 Nov. 1/6: If you think we are going to allow any crank of a Yank to put us on the water tank, Mr Pussyfoot, miaow-wow!|
|Main Stem 125: Sometimes I gits on the water wagon an’ holes on tight.|
|Fellow Countrymen (1937) 429: I’m damn glad that I went on the water-wagon.‘A Sunday in April’ in|
|New Mencken Letters (1977) 437: Red Lewis [...] told me he was on the water-wagon.letter 11 Jan. in Bode|
|Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld) 3 Feb. 4/3: I’m hanged if I know what young ladies like Flossie would do if we were all on the ‘water wagon’.|
|Western Dly Press 11 Aug. 2/2: A London magistrate advised him ‘to go on the water wagon’.|