One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
What is the origin of the word ‘cup’?
An Old English word, from Latin cuppa. As early as 1640 cup could mean ‘a sports trophy in the form of a cup’, originally for horse-racing. To be in your cups is to be drunk. In the past you could also use the phrase to mean ‘during a drinking bout’. It is unclear which meaning is intended in this passage in the biblical Apocrypha on the strength of wine: ‘And when they are in their cups, they forget their love both to friends and brethren, and a little after draw out swords.
From Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins ©2010.
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