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c.1200, drinkinge, verbal noun from drink (v.). Drinking problem "alcoholism" is from 1957; earlier was drinking habit (1899).
Old English drincan "to drink," also "to swallow up, engulf" (class III strong verb; past tense dranc, past participle druncen), from Proto-Germanic *drengkan (cf. Old Saxon drinkan, Old Frisian drinka, Dutch drinken, Old High German trinkan, German trinken, Old Norse drekka, Gothic drigkan "to drink"), of uncertain origin, perhaps from a root meaning "to draw." Not found outside Germanic.
Most Indo-European words for this trace to PIE *po(i)- (cf. Greek pino, Latin biber, Irish ibim, Old Church Slavonic piti, Russian pit'; see imbibe).
The noun meaning "beverage, alcoholic beverage" was in late Old English.
The noun, AS. drinc, would normally have given southern drinch (cf. drench), but has been influenced by the verb. [Weekley]To drink like a fish is first recorded 1747.
The drinks of the Hebrews were water, wine, "strong drink," and vinegar. Their drinking vessels were the cup, goblet or "basin," the "cruse" or pitcher, and the saucer. To drink water by measure (Ezek. 4:11), and to buy water to drink (Lam. 5:4), denote great scarcity. To drink blood means to be satiated with slaughter. The Jews carefully strained their drinks through a sieve, through fear of violating the law of Lev. 11:20, 23, 41, 42. (See Matt. 23:24. "Strain at" should be "strain out.")