Down the hatch

Down the hatch is an idiom that has been in use since the 1800s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words, or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, in the same boat, bite the bullet, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom down the hatch, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Down the hatch means to swallow something. Most often, down the hatch is an idiom that means to swallow an alcoholic drink. The phrase down the hatch is a nautical expression. The metaphor compares the human mouth to the hatch of a ship, and cargo is lowered into it. Down the hatch is most often used as a sort of toast before a person or group of people imbibes in an alcoholic beverage.


Charlie was swirling it around the glass and Páidí had it straight down the hatch in two seconds. (The Irish Examiner)

Many paczkis went down the hatch during the 2019 Paczki Eating Contest. (The Huron Daily Tribune)

With the promise of instant popularity… down the hatch goes the SQUIP with a swig of green Mountain Dew. (The Shawnee Mission Post)

But once it goes down the hatch, it leaves a powerful punch of liquor on the palate. (Wisconsin News)

But it’s unlikely to take the edge off daredevil diners who want to throw some pufferfish down the hatch after a stressful week. (Science Magazine)

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