be on the wagon

be on the wagon

To maintain one's sobriety; to abstain from alcohol. Jim's on the wagon again, so he doesn't want to go to the bar with us tonight.
See also: on, wagon

be/go on the ˈwagon

(informal) no longer drink/decide to stop drinking alcohol, either for a short period of time or permanently, especially if you drink a lot: ‘Would you like a gin and tonic?’ ‘No thanks. I’m on the wagon.’This idiom refers to the water wagon, which in America sprayed roads with water to prevent clouds of dust. If somebody starts drinking alcohol again, they are said to fall off the wagon.
See also: go, on, wagon

on the wagon, to be

To refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages. This term began life as being on the water wagon, referring to the horse-drawn water cart used to spray dirt roads in order to keep down the dust. The metaphor for abstaining from liquor originated about the turn of the century. It was given a definition (“To be on the water wagon, to abstain from hard drinks”) in Dialect Notes of 1904. B. J. Taylor used it in Extra Dry (1906): “It is better to have been on and off the Wagon than never to have been on at all.” To resume drinking is also put as to fall off the wagon.
See also: on
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