Down the Hatch – Idiom, Origin and Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Isn’t the English language unique and interesting? We’ve borrowed words and terms from various languages and put them together to create something new. We use old proverbs and literal instances and turn them into idioms to convey deeper meanings. I love the phrase “down the hatch,” but have you ever wondered what it really meant? I’ll explain its origins and show you how to use it in a sentence.

Down the Hatch Meaning Explained

Down the Hatch Idiom Origin Meaning

When people say “down the hatch,” they’re using an informal expression to show when someone is about to drink something, usually an alcoholic beverage. However, it can be applied to any beverage, with the “hatch” being your throat.

It’s a saying that serves as a fun toast or an encouragement to someone to take a drink, swallow it, and enjoy the experience. Basically, it just means “drink up” or “bottoms up.” But why don’t we just say that instead? Let’s dive deeper.

Down the Hatch Origin

The common phrase “down the hatch” is believed to have nautical origins that date back to the early 15th century. The term “hatch” refers to an opening in a ship’s deck that provides access to the lower levels of the vessel. Crew and passengers would descend the opening to go down below where the mess deck and sleeper quarters usually were found.

During the 16th, a sailor realized the correlation between a ship’s hatch and a person’s mouth and came up with the phrase. Over the years, it simply evolved as a metaphor for the act of swallowing a drink, with the throat being likened to the ship’s hatch through which the liquid passes “down” into the stomach.

Other Ways to Say Down the Hatch

Synonyms are a great way to add even more color to your writing. So try any of these words and phrases instead of down the hatch.

  • Bottoms up
  • Cheers
  • Drink up
  • Here’s to you

Down the Hatch Examples in a Sentence

Down the Hatch Idiom Origin Meaning 1
  • As the crew raised their glasses for a toast to the captain, he exclaimed, “Down the hatch, everyone!”
  • Melissa looked at the shot of whiskey before her and said with a smile, “Down the hatch!” before swallowing it in one gulp.
  • I glanced down at the deep glass with a worm at the bottom and sighed while thinking to myself, down the hatch.
  • “To our success and future adventures, down the hatch!” Damon declared as they clinked glasses and took a sip of their homemade cocktails.
  • During the birthday celebration, the group of friends gathered around the table, and someone shouted, “Down the hatch!” as they all enjoyed a round of shots.

Bottoms Up!

If you love to enjoy a drink with friends, the next time, you can declare, “Down the hatch!” It’s a fun, lighthearted phrase you can use in conversations and in your writing to give personality to a scene or a character.