Americans, what is the difference between a "drink" and a "beverage"? I don't understand why you invented a second, longer word for the same thing

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Drink could imply something is alcoholic.

"I need a Drink"

It's infrequent (in my ear) to ever hear someone say beverage.

@splitshockvirus Think it might be regional too. Also, in some of these cases, the US ends up using the old-timey English word for something while the UK now uses something else

Beverage is more of a literary term, than one that is used in casual US English. It "sounds" more formal than drink.

@splitshockvirus I did some googling and it turns out "beverage" is derived from French, whereas "drink" is from Anglo-Saxon. Why I associate "beverage" with the US, I dunno, but maybe I just hear it used more often here.

@sjb drink implies alcohol, usually hard liquor or mixed drink; beverage is not common when talking, but when used often you're being discreet on purpose for whatever reason, so it can be sort of a euphemism for a stiff drink, or specifically obvious as in, "I need an alcoholic beverage", or "I need a caffeinated beverage". You would never really hear, "I'm having a caffeinated drink" unless it was alcoholic.

@tkenben Non-alcoholic drinks are always a bit awkward to refer to ("soft drinks" maybe but what about tea or coffee?)

@sjb Yeah, soft drink directly means no alcohol, but there's not really such a thing as a soft beverage. Coffee and tea are caffeinated beverages. I guess it depends a little on context, too. Sports drinks are pretty specific and non alcohol. Anyway, "come over and have some drinks with us" definitely does not mean "come over and have some tea".

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