Hold My Beer – Origin, Meaning and Usage

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

Idioms are words and phrases that offer alternative figurative uses different from the literal use to help provide analogy and interest. They are popular in English because of the detail they lend to speech and writing.

Hold my beer is a humorous idiom made popular in the late 20th century. However, it actually has older roots referencing doing something exciting, new or risky.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can use the expression hold my beer to get a few laughs and provide some light humor to your material.

What Does Hold My Beer Mean?

Hold My Beer Origin Meaning Usage

Hold my beer is an idiom that means the speaker is about to engage in risky and dangerous behavior doomed to fail. It also can indicate a sense of confidence and ego when said or an assurance that the action or behavior to follow will be successfully completed and done in an outstanding and amusing manner.

The saying is an abbreviation of the longer phrase, “Hold my beer and watch this.” Its familiarity has allowed the shortening of the phrase without loss of understanding.

Origins of Hold My Beer

Hold My Beer Ngram
Hold my beer usage trend.

Although most people think the idiom “hold my beer” is a modern phrase, it actually came into use in the 1930s with an advertising campaign for a “no-sugar” beer. Printed in the newspapers of the day, the ad provides a play on words to indicate an elevated product that allows you to enjoy your beer while you avoid packing on the extra calories.

In 1974, the humorous use of the idiom was used in the article “Hold my Beer a Sec While I Make a Bust,” which describes three off-duty detectives who stopped an armed robbery in Pompano Beach at 1 am at a popular restaurant along Ocean Boulevard.

It is again seen in the fictional country music lyrics, Hold My Beer, Leon, While I Knee Jane Fonda,” in The Official Redneck Handbook (1987). This publication pushed it into the modern use associated with the American comedy group “The Upright Citizen’s Brigade” and later Jeff Foxworthy, a self-proclaimed redneck, during stand-up comedy performances.

The modern use originally suggested a group of slightly drunk people performing increasingly dangerous stunts. But, the phrase quickly morphed into shorthand for someone about to engage in risky and dangerous behavior and is often quoted for humorous effect. However, the term has recently been used as a prelude to doing something heroic. It will be interesting to watch how this idiom grows and changes.

Sentence Examples Using Hold My Beer

Hold My Beer Origin Meaning Usage 1
  • Monica watched the back-and-forth between the two girls, turned to her friend, and exclaimed, “Hold my beer,” as she forayed into the verbal altercation with a smirk.
  • After the social media giants’ spectacular failure, it didn’t seem possible it could get worse, but they must have thought, “Hold my beer,” because stocks dropped yesterday even worse than last week.
  • I was positive we had seen the peak of performance concerning poor advertising attempts, but only three days ago, their biggest rival came along and told them: “Hold my beer.”
  • Falyn provided one of the best college tournament golf shots in history after observing her rival surpass her on the course, turning to a teammate and exclaiming with confidence, “Hold my beer,” before hitting a screaming hook on the No.18 hole in a sudden-death playoff snatch of the state title.

Let’s Review

Throughout the last century, the phrase “hold my beer” has taken several variations of use, including the illusion of superiority, a risky behavior likely to fail, or a sense of confidence put towards a successful endeavor.

Even though the idiom wasn’t popular in mainstream comedy and in memes until recently, the term has been used since the 1930s to imply a figurative meaning.

Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered: