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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

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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