speakeasy

During the time of Prohibition, people who wanted an alcoholic drink had to visit a speakeasy, or an illegal bar.

In 1920 the United States began a failed experiment in social engineering, referred to today as Prohibition. Good citizens wasted little time in subverting laws banning the sale and consumption of alcohol by frequenting an establishment called the speakeasy — which, according to one slang lexicographer, may have come from a patron's manner of ordering an alcoholic drink without raising suspicion. The word may also be related to "speak softly shop," the nineteenth century Irish term for a smuggler's den.

DEFINITIONS OF: speakeasy

1

n (during prohibition) an illegal barroom

Type of:
bar, barroom, ginmill, saloon, taproom
a room or establishment where alcoholic drinks are served over a counter
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