Etymology of the word "bong"

After trying a beer bong for the first time a few months ago (at age 27 - I’m such a slacker!), I got to wondering about where the word came from. It seemed rather apt, since, just like a marijuana bong, it allowed one to consume a large amount of his choice intoxicant very quickly.

Also, which came first: the marijuana bong, or the beer bong? Is one term derived from the other, or did they both evolve independently?

(It should go without saying that instructions on how to build marijuana bongs and talk of similar illegal activities are verboten in this thread.)


Thank you. That answers one of my questions. Now what about beer bongs?

The earliest cite I can find is from 1986, a newspaper article describing a wild weekend in Ocean City MD.

Interesting (damn, you’re the king of etymology, samclem - I had you in mind when I wrote the OP and was hoping you’d respond to it. :)).

I’m surprised that beer bongs are such a recent invention.

Does anyone know if the same device was known under a different name prior to 1986, or if the word is derived from, or has any relation to, marijuana bongs?

Also, how far-reaching is the term “beer bong?” The one that I own was actually purchased in Ocean City, MD.

Um, of course it comes from the older term used to describe apparatus for smoking pot. Where else do you think the name “beer bong” could have come from? Isn’t it sort of obvious?

Not really. A marijuana bong pulls smoke through water. A beer bong is a funnel with a piece of tubing attached to it. The two devices work in entirely different ways.

Thanks for the condescening and completely useless answer, though. :rolleyes:

beer bong predates 1986. sheesh, kids these days. late 70’s in high we used and called 'em beer bongs.

i’m sure beer bongs are about as old as beer and wag that the term beer bond developed in the 60’s

I was smoking water pipes in the early 70s. Of course, we put beer or wine in them, but same difference. We called it a Hookah.

They’re both implements, as you mentioned in your OP, for consuming large amounts of mind-altering substances quickly. It’s hard to imagine that “beer bong” could have had any other origin, isn’t it?

I never saw one or heard of the term “beer bong” in the early 70s.

They certainly weren’t used in college. Since drinking was legal, there was no reason to get roaring drunk every time you could.

If you’re talking about a funnel with a hose attached, then you are probably wrong. That kind of beer bong(which is what I think the term means to most people in the last 25 years) certainly goes back before my 1986 newspaper find, but I’d be very surprised if it was commonly used much before your memories of the late 1970’s.

I’ll readily concede that it’s most likely where the term came from, but the most obvious answer isn’t always the correct one when it comes to word origins.

One listed meaning for the word “bong” in the dictionary is the sound of a bell. A funnel is shaped sort of like a bell, so it could have come from that, or it could have some completely off-the-wall origin. Granted, those scenarios are unlikely, but they are possible, so that’s why I asked the question.

While beer bongs seem to be most often used for binge drinking, they can (and do, in my case) serve other purposes. I have a tough time stomaching alcohol, but I rather enjoy the buzz. If I sit and nurse beers, I often end up nauseated in short order. With the beer bong, I can get all the unpleasantness out of the way in a few seconds. It’s not at all uncommon for me to drink three or four beers through a bong, then call it a night.