Who doesn’t love a good drink of water?
Ask any health professional, and they’ll tell you all the benefits of drinking adequate amounts of water.
Some experts will recommend drinking eight glasses a day, while some might go so far as to tell you that you should always have a bottle of water handy.
And, this all makes sense when you think about it.
60 percent of our bodies is composed of water. It flushes out any waste and toxins in our bodies. It helps regulate our body temperatures. And, it is crucial for the functioning of our brain.
Aside from the health benefits, water is everywhere. It’s in the humidity in the air. It’s in the moisture in the soil.
And, when it condenses, it showers us with rain. This is not to mention that 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water.
So, with all of this in mind, is it any surprise that we have so many idioms and expressions involving water?
When we’re unsure about something, we decide to “test the water” first.
And, once we choose to let something go, it becomes “water under the bridge.”
But, when we are struggling, we do our best “to keep our heads above water.”
Moreover, when we find someone attractive, we might describe them as “a tall glass of water.”
Let’s take a closer look at that last one.
What does “a tall glass of water” mean?
“A tall glass of water” is a colloquial expression that is used to describe someone tall and attractive. It is often used to describe men but can also apply to women. Now, some will just interpret “a tall glass of water” as something you say to a tall person, regardless of whether you find them attractive or not. Let’s take a look at each of these definitions separately.
”A tall glass of water” meaning tall and handsome
When describing men, there is already a common English expression that goes “he is tall, dark, and handsome.” In fact, many novels will introduce their main protagonists with some variation to that phrase.
So, in a way, “a tall glass of water” is a variation of that expression.
But, there is more at play here.
For starters, when someone is hot enough, you might need a tall glass of water to cool down.
But, more importantly, if you really want to dig into the origin of this expression, you should bear in mind that it probably surfaced somewhere in Southern United States.
Over there, the weather can get scorching hot, and a few decades ago, there wasn’t plenty of clean, potable water going around.
Additionally, life was hard, and people need to work their asses off just to make ends meet.
Consequently, people were generally thirsty. In fact, they could get so thirsty that a tall glass of water would turn into the most appealing thing in the world.
It would be so attractive that it would reach an instinctive, animalistic part of you.
Hence, when you describe someone as a “tall glass of water,” you are saying that they are so attractive that they would satisfy you if you were roaming in the desert dying of thirst.
How to use the expression “a tall glass of water”
So, if you use it in the workplace, don’t get surprised if you get a call from HR letting you know that someone has accused you of sexual harassment.
You shouldn’t even use it to hit on strangers or people you don’t know.
The expression was also used by the band “Rascal Flatts” in their song “Dry County Girl.” Here are the relevant lyrics.
But, hold on a second I hear you say. That doesn’t say a tall glass of water. That says a tall drink of water.
Technically, those two expressions mean the same thing. “A tall drink of water” is also used to describe someone attractive and tall.
That said, there’s another reason you should generally avoid using this expression. It is a bit old and antiquated. So, if you use it with someone, they might not understand what you are trying to say.
”A tall drink of water” to talk about someone tall
This definition actually traces its origins to Scotland rather than the United States.
Back in 1887, the Scottish would describe a tall individual as lang drink. In fact, John Service wrote in his book “The Life and Recollections of Doctor Duguid of Kilwinning” the following sentence.
Another famous usage of this alternative definition can be found in the classic movie “Shawshank Redemption.”
When Andy Dufrain first walks into the prison along with the new prisoners, Red and the gang are taking bets about who will be the first one among the fish to break.
Red decides that Andy was probably not cut out for prison life, so he puts his money on “that tall drink of water with a silver spoon up his a$$.”
If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.