Green’s Dictionary of Slang

gargle n.

[orig. medical student use]

1. a drink, a measure of alcohol.

[UK]W. Perry Only Sure Guide 164: Gargle, a liquor.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 146: GARGLE, medical student Slang for physic.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sporting Times 3 Aug. 3: We’re just going to have a gargle – will you join us?
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 190: Being rather stony [I] asked him to stand me a gargle.
[Aus]‘Dryblower’ ‘His Quest’ in Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Apr. 4/7: The stranger gulped his gargle.
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 166: I’ll toss you for a gargle.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Final Count 812: It’s a pleasure to ’ave met yer, Mr. Bloggs. ’Ave another gargle?
[Aus]L. Lower Here’s Luck 179: ‘Glad to meet you, boys,’ I said, ‘George, go inside and give the boys a gargle’ .
[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 6 Oct. [synd. col.] Brandy in many places is now $1 a gargle.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 209: He paused at the pub for a gargle.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 101: How about a gargle? Down to the rubberdy, come on.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 51: The barman didn’t give me a second look, which was okay from the point of view of me getting served with the gargle.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Outcasts of Foolgarah (1975) 7: Repair to the local for a well-earned gargle.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell and the Three-card Trick (1977) 123: The jolly band of conspirators was having a gargle and a giggle.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 10: Nah, she’s apples china, I’d rather prop on me Pat Malone. I’m only in for a quick gargle.
[Ire](con. 1930s) K.C. Kearns Dublin Tenement Life 70: They’d let down a can with a string on it and money’d be in the can to get cigarettes and matches or get them a gargle at the pub.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] [A] couple of years in here without any gargle, you’d get pissed on a barman’s fart.
[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] We’ll come in. have a few gargles.
[Aus]P. Temple Truth 125: Get together for a gargle, you and me and other old comrades.

2. alcoholic drink in general.

[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 54: The old man [...] tells ’im if he’ll turn the gargle up he’ll take ’im ’ome.
[UK]Marvel III:55 3: Where’s the gargle, Harlow?
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 93: Muttering to himself in Waterford Irish, which was a habit of his when he was off the gargle.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 36: The gargle has ruined many a good man.
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 86: A very full account of his depredations not only at the gargle and puff.
[Ire]R. Doyle Van (1998) 378: It wasn’t the gargle he was dying for.
[Ire]Sun. Trib. (Dublin) 22 Oct. n.p.: There are times when I get the urge for a pint, but I keep thinking of the horror days when I had too much of the gargle [BS].
[US]D.D. Brazill ‘Lady and the Gimp’ in Pulp Ink [ebook] I let the gargle lead me all the way to a stinking hangover.

In compounds

gargle factory (n.) (also gargle house)

a public house or bar.

[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight 250: Various equivalents [...] are: lushery, gargle-factory.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 447/1: from ca. 1870.
dongrammer ‘The Night Out’ at 🌐 Then we looked around this GARGLE-FACTORY / And laughed at the sights that we did see.
gargle trap (n.)

the throat.

[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 42: Being no mean performer on the gargle trap myself.

In phrases

on the gargle (adj.)


[Ire]J. O’Connor Salesman 90: Musta been out on the gargle last night.