Despite popular belief, a “teetotaler,” a person who abstains completely from alcohol, has nothing to do with tea. Rather, the word stems from a dreidel-like top popular in Europe from the 16th to 19th century. The tops had four lettered sides, one of which was inscribed with the letter T for Latin totum, “all,” signifying “take all.” Thus teetotaler became a term used for somebody practicing total abstinence from something, such as alcohol.


Whitney R. Cross, The Burned Over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800–1850 (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), p. 216.


See Betsy A. O’Brien, “The Lord’s Supper: Fruit of the Vine or Cup of Devils?” Methodist History 31:4 (1993), p. 221.


See Carey Ellen Walsh, The Fruit of the Vine: Viticulture in Ancient Israel, Harvard Semitic Monographs 60 (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2000).


See Michael M. Homan, “Beer, Barley and rK;ve in the Hebrew Bible,” in the Festschrift for David Noel Freedman on His 80th Birthday (forthcoming).


James Davidson, Courtesans and Fishcakes (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), p. 40.