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Pre-gaming from Word Spy

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pre-gaming
pp. Bingeing on alcohol at home before going out for the evening, particularly to a place where alcohol is expensive or not available. Also: pregaming.

Max and his brothers are pre-gaming. A dozen of them strut about the courtyard of their house on the University of Florida’s Fraternity Row, each nursing a cold beer in a foam hugger. A Frisbee flies as Jimi Hendrix blares from the loudspeakers.

The only thing unusual about this day’s pre-gaming is that it actually precedes a game. In the two decades since the legal drinking age was raised to 21, the term has come to encompass any rapid consumption of alcohol in private before venturing out to venues where drinking may not be possible.
—Kevin Sack, “At the Legal Limit,” The New York Times, November 2, 2008

Young people are engaging in a “new culture of intoxication” that even has its own buzzwords — “pre-drinking” or “pre-gaming.” …

This new form of binge drinking goes far beyond a warm-up to a night out with friends, says a new report by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health researcher Samantha Wells and two colleagues at the University of Toronto and University of Western Ontario.

It’s an “intense, ritualized and unsupervised” drinkfest, in many cases perfectly timed so that the booze hits the bloodstream within minutes of stepping inside the bar, Wells said in a telephone interview from London, Ont.
—Susan Pigg, “‘Pre-drinking’ binges by kids dangerous, study warns,” The Toronto Star, December 17, 2008

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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