Slip someone a Mickey
Meaning of Idiom ‘Mickey Finn’
A Mickey (Finn) is a drug placed in an alcoholic drink or a drugged alcoholic drink.
Meaning of Idiom ‘Slip Someone a Mickey (Finn)’
To slip someone a Mickey (Finn) is to surreptitiously drug someone’s alcoholic drink or to give someone a drink that had been drugged without their knowledge or consent with the intent of incapacitating them. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
Although Mickey Finn is the full and original idiom, today it is usually shortened to Mickey.
The drug itself is often considered to be the Mickey, which is being ‘slipped’ into someone’s drink. However, a drugged drink itself can also be called a Mickey.
In the past, the purpose of a Mickey might be to incapacitate someone for various reasons or to induce diarrhea (as a prank), today the idiom is usually used in reference to drugging a woman’s drink in order to render them unconscious or incapacitated (become weak and confused) and then rape them. Learn more.
Examples of Use
“Women have to be careful today when they are out drinking. You never know when someone might slip a mickey into your drink.”
“Their favorite frat initiation was to invite the new pledge out to a bar and slip him a Mickey. The Mickey was a strong laxative.”
“The plan was to slip him a Mickey Finn and kidnap him but he was too wily. He never touched his drink.”
Used since the late 1800s or early 1900s.
The origin of this expression is not known but it is sometimes said to allude to an infamous Chicago barkeeper. 3Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
The bartender of the story was Michael “Mickey” Finn, who was the manager and bartender of the Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden Restaurant in Chicago, a business that operated from 1896 to 1903 on South State Street. In December 1903, Mickey Finn was accused of using knockout drops to incapacitate and rob some of his customers. The first known written use of the idiom was in 1915, twelve years after Finn’s trial.
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