Adam’s ale

Adam’s ale

Meaning | Synonyms

  • water
  • a joking way to refer to a glass of water

Example Sentences

  1. It is blistering hot outside, I could really do with an iced cold glass of Adam’s ale.
  2. Unfortunately, we have no wine or beer in the house. You will have to settle for some Adam’s ale.
  3. My children never have any sugary beverages. They are quite happy drinking some Adam’s ale.
  4. We are teetotallers. We will each have a glass of Adam’s ale please.
  5. If the kids feel tired, let them have a glass of Adam’s ale from the tap.


The phrase is used in a joking fashion to refer to a glass of water. The reason for this is because in Biblical time the only thing that Adam would have had to drink was water. It is also referred to as Adam’s wine, particularly in Scotland.

The earliest use of the phrase that can be found is from William Prynne’s The Soveraigne Power of Parliaments and Kingdomes, from 1643.

“allowed onely a poore pittance of Adams Ale, and scarce a penny bread a day to support their lives.”

It gained popularity in the 1800s during the Temperance movement in which alcohol was seen as evil. Water was seen as a natural and pure by the movement.


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