Drown one’s sorrows

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The idiom drown one’s sorrows came into use sometime in the 1800s. We will examine the meaning of the idiom drown one’s sorrows, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To drown one’s sorrows means to become drunk on alcoholic beverages in order to forget one’s sadness, disappointment, or fear. This is not a good coping mechanism because once you are sober, the problem is still present. As a common joke asserts, “Your sorrows can swim.” The idiom drown one’s sorrows most often refers to the use of alcohol, but the expression is sometimes used comically to mean to gorge on chocolate or to indulge in something else to take one’s mind off one’s problems. Drown one’s sorrows has been in use since the 1800s, but became much more popular during the twentieth century. Related phrases are drowns one’s sorrows, drowned one’s sorrows, drowning one’s sorrows.


Alcohol is alcohol, and if you can calm your nerves or drown your sorrows with a lager or pale ale, shouldn’t you be allowed to down a bourbon, too? (The Morning Call)

If you are looking for something to lift your spirits or drown your sorrows, Georgetown Waterfront’s sophisticated, Italian, seafood staple is cutting down their offerings to the essentials—wine, cheese and desserts. (Washington Life Magazine)

If my efforts to get the Super Bowl fail I’m just going to watch golf or college hoops and drown my sorrows with several bowls of jambalaya. (The Lawton Constitution)

When he sent his friend to break up with me on the walk out of the elementary school one day, “Cold as You” allowed me to drown my sorrows. (The State News)