I am quite sure that the sentence

There was a binge yesterday

is grammatically correct. But what about semantics? I mean, there was an event like a drinking party yesterday. Do I use the binge word properly?
I want to use the binge word as a noun on its own. Is it allowed in this case?

I got some third-party opinion:

It is not right to use the binge word in that way. Because binge on its own doesn't truly explain itself, you'd have to out 'drinking' there before or after it. E.g. 'There was a drinking binge yesterday'
Or 'We went out binge drinking last night'

But this opinion is pretty dubious for me especially in the drinking binge part.

Is this sentence (There was a binge yesterday) really clumsy, inadequate and inappropriate in English speech?

In the novel Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh, I found a similar use of the word "binge":

  • How about a binge?
  • What about that binge you promised me and Prendy?
  • Here's to Trumpington, whoever he is, who gave us the money for this binge!
  • 2
    What do you intend for the sentence to mean? "Binge" doesn't always refer to alcohol
    – alphabet
    Mar 25 at 12:28
  • 2
    I'd be happier with 'Weekend binges are a serious problem at many colleges and universities' [M-W] and 'Binge drinking is a serious problem at many colleges and universities' than 'Binges are a serious problem,' which while not incorrect feels in need of additional information (which may of course have been given in previous sentences). Compare 'There was a spree.' Mar 25 at 12:32
  • Quiet sure? That's a new one. Would that everyone were quiet sure. "They went on a binge yesterday. "there was a binge" as used in your sentence is awkward.
    – Lambie
    Mar 25 at 15:16
  • 1
    I feel sure that Bertie Wooster often used binge to mean (sometimes ironically) a festive occasion, not implying drunkenness (but not excluding it either). Mar 25 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


Yes, the sentence There was a binge yesterday is both grammatically correct and clumsy and I'd venture so far as to say that few native speakers (certainly BrE speakers) would put things that way.

OED gives the definition of the noun binge as

slang (originally dialect: see Eng. Dial. Dict.).
A heavy drinking-bout; hence, a spree.

and it defines the verb binge as you'd expect, to indulge in such an event.

so while @alphabet's comment that binge doesn't always refer to an alcohol-soaked spree it usually does, and without qualification (as in eg a coke and methamphetamine binge) one would usually interpret it to be so, alcohol-soaked that is.

It would be more natural to say something like I was on a binge last night or My flatmates went out on a binge for the weekend, I stayed in and studied the scriptures.

The expression There was a binge last night is the kind of thing a university student might say to his mother (other sexes of student are available, as are other parents) when she visits one morning to find the shared accommodation in total disarray and when the student wishes to leave open the slim possibility that mother's darling son was not at the very heart of goings-on.

  • I suspect this may be a split between BrE and AmE; "I was on a binge last night" and "My [roommates] went out on a binge for the weekend" sound wrong to me without further context.
    – alphabet
    Mar 25 at 16:52
  • @alphabet No, the BrE and AmE here is exactly the same thing. My roommates went on a binge this weekend.
    – Lambie
    Mar 25 at 18:44
  • 1
    @Lambie I can confidently say that I have never heard this usage, except where context makes the activity in question clear.
    – alphabet
    Mar 25 at 18:49
  • @alphabet This is very used, in several variants: dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/binge to go or be on a binge and the verb: to binge.
    – Lambie
    Mar 25 at 20:01
  • 1
    Not "I was on a binge" but "I went on a binge". Mar 25 at 22:53

I certainly haven't heard this usage of "binge" before. Typically you need to specify what activity was being done, since "binge" can refer to bingeing on a variety of things: drinking, eating, shopping, watching shows on Netflix, et cetera. So you would say "a drinking binge" to refer to one episode of overconsuming alcohol or "binge drinking" to refer to the activity of doing so. (Incidentally, "a bender" sounds much better to me than "a drinking binge.")

Cambridge gives this definition:

an occasion when an activity is done in an extreme way, especially eating, drinking, or spending money:

  • a drinking/eating/spending binge
  • He went on a five day drinking binge

That said, you could omit "drinking" if it was extremely obvious from the surrounding context:

After being sober for ten years, Jim relapsed, going on a three-day binge.

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