For different types of receptacles, such as glasses, cups, jars, pots etc., what is a natural way to describe pouring until its volume is full of the liquid?

A construct pour up comes to my mind, but not sure whether it is correct. I also didn't find any support in dictionaries. Example sentence:

The waiter poured my glass up.

  • 4
    one word? filled
    – lbf
    Aug 15, 2018 at 19:00
  • @vth why did you change tag to #single-word-requests, I think it is misleading, explain why
    – ludgo
    Aug 16, 2018 at 12:01
  • 2
    Just to be clear: the verbal phrase "pour up" does not exist in mainstream English. (Although apparently they have it in Texas.)
    – TonyK
    Aug 16, 2018 at 19:54

5 Answers 5


fill to the brim, as defined by The Free Dictionary:

filled all the way full; filled up to the top edge.

I like my coffee cup filled to the brim.
If the glass is filled to the brim, I can't drink without spilling the contents.

Your example can be rephrased as:

The waiter filled my glass to the brim.

A bit flowery, but it gets the job done.

  • 1
    Yep- this is the answer (to the brim). Bonus points: look up the expression "j'en ai ras le bol" :)
    – tidbertum
    Aug 15, 2018 at 16:43
  • 3
    Americans may have had this phrase perverted in our heads thanks to an aggressive 1960s-80s advertising campaign, "Fill it to the rim - with Brim!"
    – cobaltduck
    Aug 15, 2018 at 18:17

Also fill up:

to become full, or to make something become full:

  • He filled up the tank with petrol.
  • The waiter filled up the glass/filled the glass up!

(Cambridge Dictionary)

  • A much better answer. Concise, to the point and all round an excellent phrasal verb. +1
    – VTH
    Aug 15, 2018 at 16:53
  • How come you "fill it up" but you don't "empty it down"?
    – GEdgar
    Aug 15, 2018 at 17:32
  • 1
    @GEdgar - you have “empty out”, instead.
    – user 66974
    Aug 15, 2018 at 17:35
  • 7
    And yet, when a waiter fills up my glass with wine (which I would appreciate) I do not expect them to fill it to the rim. When my glass gets filled up, I expect it to be filled to the appropriate level for the drink/vessel combination.
    – oerkelens
    Aug 15, 2018 at 19:23
  • 2
    "up" seems redundant here... "The waiter filled the glass with water", etc. Sounds more natural to me. I wouldn't say using "up" in this case is wrong, just that it sounds better without it.
    – JeffC
    Aug 15, 2018 at 22:32

The phrase "fill to the brim" has already been given as an answer.

But - as you've tagged your question 'single word request'- I would like to add that "brim" can also be used as a verb to mean exactly the same thing.


(definition 2):

Definition of brim

brimmed; brimming

(transitive verb)

to fill to the brim

Example of usage: "The attentive waiter brimmed our glasses with ice cold water."

  • Huh. I never knew brim was also a verb :) Aug 17, 2018 at 1:40
  • 1
    This is almost the same verb as used adjectivally in a figurative sense - brimming with confidence, for example. Aug 17, 2018 at 7:35
  • @TobySpeight Indeed. :)
    – Deepak
    Aug 17, 2018 at 7:45

The natural way to express this is to use the phrasal verb top off:

top off or top up to completely fill a container that is already partly full

So you can say:

The waiter topped off my glass.

  • 6
    But does top off imply that the glass is filled so that it contains its normal amount, or that it gets filled to its maximum capacity? I think I usually hear it used in the first version when it comes to drinks.
    – oerkelens
    Aug 15, 2018 at 19:29
  • 2
    @oerkelens the definition says "completely fill," but I agree that, when it comes to drinks, top off implies filling it to the capacity as normally served. But the OP was asking for a word to describe filling the container completely.
    – Gnawme
    Aug 15, 2018 at 19:37
  • 2
    so this is used only when glass already contains some liquid, right?
    – ludgo
    Aug 16, 2018 at 12:15
  • Well, once you start pouring, the glass will have some liquid in it, right? Then you can top it off...
    – Gnawme
    Aug 16, 2018 at 14:40
  • In practice, in a restaurant, if a waiter filled a glass to its absolute maximum physical capacity, you would not be able to pick the glass up without spilling it. I would call such a glass overfilled. I would expect even a glass "filled to the brim" to have a little less than the absolute maximum amount of liquid in it. On the other hand, I would not use "top off" unless the glass was already partly full when the waiter came around with the bottle.
    – David K
    Aug 16, 2018 at 20:31

Here are the lyrics from a Scottish drinking song which is usually performed to Ludwig van Beethoven's music:

Come fill!
Fill, my good fellow! Fill high!
High, my good fellow, and let's
Be merry and mellow,
And let us have one bottle more.

When warm
the heart is flowing,
And bright
the fancy glowing,
Oh, shame on the dolt would be going,
Nor tarry for one bottle more!

  • 3
    Interesting as it is, I'm not sure how a Scotting drinking song is relevant as an answer on ELU?
    – JeffC
    Aug 15, 2018 at 22:33
  • 2
    @JeffC: "Fill" and "high" are both perfectly English words. Or should we refrain painstakingly from quoting, say, Robert Burns and Walter Scott? Oh, and G.B. Shaw was Irish, if I recollect aright? Sheesh.
    – Ricky
    Aug 16, 2018 at 5:14
  • 1
    If your glass is filled 'to the brim' (usual with pints of beer in England, but not glasses of wine), you're getting slightly more for your money than if the glass is filled 'to the normal amount for that liquid/container combination - about half an inch BELOW the rim. The point of a Scottish quote is that they (stereo)typically like to get best value for money... Not sure whether 'Fill high' would be received well nowadays, and certainly would raise the eyebrows of an English waiter. "Please refill my glass" would be requesting your glass be 'topped up' to the 'usual amount'.
    – Dnaaz
    Aug 16, 2018 at 5:51
  • 2
    Do you have any evidence besides this one musical example that this expression is in common usage?
    – V2Blast
    Aug 16, 2018 at 7:09
  • Seems to have something to do with the rim books.google.com/… Aug 16, 2018 at 17:21

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