English Idioms


Do you know where the expression 'nightcap' comes from?



I know it!! You?!


Check nightcap out!
Minuscule Amy

8 comments

  • I didn’t even hear of that, so I looked it up.
    The first definition from my American dictionary is about a cap and from some other British book is about alcohol.


    No doubt! It's the Anglophones!
    So, it comes from somewhere between McGill and Atwater.
  • Not a single idea!!!!
    Willy
  • Maybe it is because (elderly?) people USED TO wear a nightcap in order to avoid being cold during the night. NOW people are used to drinking something warm, for example cocoa, before going to bed so as not to sleep "on an empty stomach" and then catch a cold...
  • I met last week a tall Danish woman, the tall sister of the little Siren of Copenhagen. She had been living in London for a gap year. She told me that, as she had been hired as a barwoman (barman?) in the bar of a hotel, one day late in the evening, a patron having drunk a lot yet asked for a nightcap. She thought of a "bonnet de nuit" like they are used to in the Molière's comedies.
    Wondering what to do, she picked up the phone and asked the manager.
    The latter answered: It's a drink. Ask him what a kind of drink he wants as a nightcap.
  • From Silky:
    Maybe it is because (elderly?) people USED TO wear a nightcap in order to avoid being cold during the night. NOW people are used to drinking something warm, for example cocoa, before going to bed so as not to sleep "on an empty stomach" and then catch a cold...

     


    Every night when going to bed I put a woolen nightcap and woolen socks on; at which point I sip a herbal tea. That's my triple nightcap.
    Nonetheless I don't fell as much an elderly man as Silky is dropping a hint!
    I'd try the Silky's cocoa but I fear to get older at a faster rate of grow.
  • All of you are right. Even Willy The Security Guard who said having not a single idea. Willy is not so much an old man. Therefore he has always had a central heating at home and never used a woollen nightcap to keep his ideas warm. As a young smart man he was hired as a Security guard and therefore has always been banned on getting drunk.


    In all seriousness, the nightcap is a cap worn during the night to keep one’s head warm. But later the word got used in the figurative as for a last drink taken just before bedtime.
    The reason why the figurative meaning appeared in English and not in other languages remains a pending question. We are still waiting for an explanation.
  • Why French don’t have a nightcap before going to bed?
    It’s Jean-Baptiste’s fault !
    The fourth and last time Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, aka Molière, got on stage in 1673 to play its last play “The Hypochondriac” (Le Malade imaginaire) he was wearing a nightcap.
    Playing the role of the hypochondriac, he fell mortally ill and died an hour later.
    Thanks to Louis XIV, Molière was buried in holy ground in the dead of night in spite of the disapproval of the Church. Even though the king had agreed to be the godfather of Molière’s first child, the playwright got writing satiric plays making fun of the good society.


    Molière dying with a nightcap on his head became one of the French emblematic popular figures that couldn’t be undermined into a common alcoholic drink.
    For French a nightcap still stands as a “bonnet de nuit”.


    But English sacrilegious drunkards couldn’t help getting it otherwise.
  • A question by Benoît Grand-Perrin opens the opportunity to give an additional information about nightcaps and drinks of the like.


    There are a lot of evening drunkards in U.K., they are nightcap addicted.
    Besides the nightcaps users there are also eyes-openers users.
    But the eyes-openers are more common in the States.


    An eyes-opener is a drink of liquor taken to stimulate, especially upon awakening.(US)


    But at the GG, there is a "regular of nightcaps & eyes-opener".
    A regular of nightcaps & eyes-openers is someone who manages to get some sleep between two drinks.
    This is their sequence: nightcap - sleep - eyes-opener - sleep - nightcap - sleep - eyes-opener - ... and so forth.
    In that way of living, impossible to get aware of any Radio Rhubarb broadcast.

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