Meaning of ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION in English

use of beverages containing ethyl alcohol for their physiological and psychological effects. Alcohol consumption is often related to social patterns and may be a part of religious practices. Because of alcohol's effects on the body and on behaviour, governments often regulate its use. Alcoholic beverages include wines, beers, and spirits. Wines are fermented from the sugars in fruits or berries (most commonly grapes), from various plants or their saps, from honey, and even from milk. Beers are fermented from grains after the starch in them is first converted to sugar. Spirits are distilled from wines or beers. The alcohol in all these beverages is ethyl alcohol, or ethanol (CH3CH2OH). Extremely small amounts of other alcohols, such as amyl, butyl, propyl, and methyl alcohol, also occur in alcoholic beverages, along with other so-called congeners that include acids, aldehydes, esters, ketones, phenols, and tannins; there are also numerous inorganic substances, including vitamins and minerals. Some of these ingredients are derived from primary plant materials; some are produced during the fermentation process and may be reduced by purification; and some are introduced during the aging processfor example, by continuous contact with containers such as wooden barrels. The combinations and exact amounts of congeners vary with the type of beverage, ranging from as few as 33 milligrams per litre in vodka, which is purified diluted alcohol, to averages of 500 milligrams per litre in some whiskies and as many as 2,600 milligrams per litre in specially aged whiskies or brandies. Congeners contribute special characteristics of taste, aroma, and colour to the beverages. Some have nutrient and medicinal effects. Some, in spite of their small quantity, slow the rate at which the body disposes of ethyl alcohol and may have toxic effects if very large amounts of alcoholic beverages are consumed. But the main ingredient that characterizes alcoholic beverages and the chief contributor of the effects sought by people who drink them is ethyl alcohol (hereafter referred to simply as alcohol). In beers the alcohol content varies from about 2 percent in some mild Scandinavian varieties to about 8 percent in especially strong types; most U.S. beers contain between 4 and 5 percent. Natural or unfortified wines (the so-called dry wines, such as burgundy, chianti, and sauterne) usually contain between 8 and 12 percent alcohol, although most U.S. varieties have a somewhat higher content, ranging from 12 to 14 percent. Vermouths and aperitif wines usually contain 18 percent, and dessert, sweet, and cocktail wines (such as sherry, port, and muscatel) contain 20 to 21 percent. These percentages are by volume; i.e., the proportion of alcohol in the fluid volume of an average American beer is 4.5 percent. Since fermentation yields only 14 percent alcohol, the extra strength of fortified wines comes from the addition of alcohol or brandy. Spirits, including vodka, gin, and whiskies (rye, Scotch, bourbon), rum (distilled from sugarcane or molasses), brandies (distilled from fruit wines), and liqueurs (flavoured syrupy spirits) usually contain between 40 and 50 percent alcohol. Cordials, made of flavoured spirits, such as anisette, blackberry, curaao, maraschino, and sloe gin, usually contain between 25 and 40 percent. The Asiatic beverage kumiss (made from mare's milk) and the Russian kvass rarely contain more than 2 percent alcohol. Additional reading Jerome H. Jaffe (ed.), Encyclopedia of Drugs and Alcohol, 4 vol. (1995), contains more than 500 articles, bibliographic references, and an extensive index. Griffith Edwards, Awni Arif, and Jerome H. Jaffe (eds.), Drug Use & Misuse: Cultural Perspectives (1983), contains chapters on alcohol use. Anthropological studies of the drinking practices of early societies, as well as their survival and transmission to and significance for modern humans, are described in E.M. Loeb, Primitive Intoxicants, Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 4:387398 (1943); Chandler Washburne, Primitive Drinking: A Study of the Uses and Functions of Alcohol in Preliterate Societies (1961); M.K. Bacon et al., A Cross-Cultural Study of Drinking, Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, suppl. no. 3 (1965); Mary Douglas (ed.), Constructive Drinking: Perspectives on Drink from Anthropology (1987); and Dimitra Gefou-Madianou (ed.), Alcohol, Gender, and Culture (1992). David J. Pittman and Charles R. Snyder (eds.), Society, Culture, and Drinking Patterns (1962), brings together the best essays available in the older literature on social and cultural factors associated with drinking patterns in many kinds of communities and groups.The prevalence of drinking or abstaining and the distribution and demographic interrelations of alcohol problems and alcoholism in the United States and other countries are dealt with in Don Cahalan, Ira H. Cisin, and Helen M. Crossley, American Drinking Practices: A National Study of Drinking Behavior and Attitudes (1969); Kettil Bruun et al., Surveys of Drinking and Abstaining: Urban, Suburban, and National Studies, Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, suppl. no. 6 (1972); Jack H. Mendelson and Nancy K. Mello, Alcohol: Use and Abuse in America (1985); Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin, Drinking in America, rev. and expanded ed. (1987), a brief, scholarly history of alcohol use since colonial times; Walter B. Clark and Michael E. Hilton, Alcohol in America: Drinking Practices and Problems (1991); Jack O. Waddell and Michael W. Everett (eds.), Drinking Behavior Among Southwestern Indians (1980); John Hamer and Jack Steinbring (eds.), Alcohol and Native Peoples of the North (1980), a collection dealing with the cultural meanings and attachments to alcohol among Arctic and subarctic American Indians; John E. Helzer and Gloria J. Canino (eds.), Alcoholism in North America, Europe, and Asia (1992); Mark Keller and Carol Gurioli, Statistics on Consumption of Alcohol and on Alcoholism (1976), comparisons of alcohol consumption in many countries; Phil Davies and Dermot Walsh, Alcohol Problems and Alcohol Control in Europe (1983); Boris M. Segal, The Drunken Society: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the Soviet Union (1990); Johanna Maula, Maaria Lindblad, and Christoffer Tigerstedt (eds.), Alcohol in Developing Countries (1990); National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (U.S.), Special Population Issues (1982), problems related to alcohol use among different population groups; Orianna Josseau Kalant (ed.), Alcohol and Drug Problems in Women (1980); Thomas D. Watts and Roosevelt Wright, Jr. (eds.), Alcoholism in Minority Populations (1989); and Joseph C. Fisher, Advertising, Alcohol Consumption, and Abuse: A Worldwide Survey (1993). Dwight B. Heath and A.M. Cooper, Alcohol Use and World Cultures: A Comprehensive Bibliography of Anthropological Sources (1981), presents a thorough listing of more than 1,200 alcohol-use sources on particular topics, regions, and ethnic groups. Grace M. Barnes, Ernest L. Abel, and Charles A.S. Ernst (compilers), Alcohol and the Elderly: A Comprehensive Bibliography (1980), contains more than 1,200 citations dealing with biological and social problems facing elderly persons involved in alcohol abuse.Analyses of classic as well as contemporary attempts to cope with alcohol problems are outlined in New York State Moreland Commission on the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, The Relationship of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law and the Problems of Alcohol, 2nd ed. rev. (1963); S.D. Bacon, The Classic Temperance Movement in the U.S.A.: Impact Today on Attitudes, Action, and Research, The British Journal of Addiction (to Alcohol and Other Drugs), 62:518 (1967); Jack S. Blocker, Jr., American Temperance Movements: Cycles of Reform (1989); and David E. Kyvig (ed.), Law, Alcohol, and Order, Perspectives on National Prohibition (1985). Mark H. Moore and Dean R. Gerstein (eds.), Alcohol and Public Policy: Beyond the Shadow of Prohibition (1981), includes several superbly written and well-referenced papers covering the effects of federal regulation, education, taxation, and international policy changes. Griffith Edwards, John Strang, and Jerome H. Jaffe (eds.), Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco: Making the Science and Policy Connections (1993), compiles papers on the role of science in forming national drug, alcohol, and tobacco policies.Broad data and perspectives on alcohol-related health and social problems are presented in Clifford F. Gastineau, William J. Darby, and Thomas B. Turner (eds.), Fermented Food Beverages in Nutrition (1979), discussing the hazardous aspects of alcohol consumption and the often disregarded nutritional aspects; and Griffith Edwards et al., Alcohol Policy and the Public Good (1994), a thoughtful analysis of the social and economic costs of alcohol. Mark Keller The Editors of the Encyclopdia Britannica Social conditions of alcohol consumption History of the use of alcohol In early societies The origin of alcoholic beverages is lost in the mists of prehistory. Fermentation can occur in any sugar-containing mishmash, such as one of grapes, fruits, berries, or honey, if left exposed in a warm atmosphere. Airborne yeasts will act on the sugar, converting it to alcohol and carbon dioxide. This is the process of fermentation. Alcoholic beverages were thus probably discovered accidentally in the pre-agricultural gathering stage. Early man presumably liked the effects, if not the taste, and proceeded to purposeful production; from merely gathering the wild-growing raw materials, he went on to regular cultivation of the vine and other suitable crops. Few preliterate people did not learn to convert some of the fruit of the earth into alcohol. In the case of starchy vegetation, quite primitive agriculturists learned how to convert the starch to fermentable sugar by providing the necessary zymase from their saliva through such a simple process as preliminary mastication. The making of wines and beers has been reported from several hundred preliterate societies. Their importance is evident in the multiplicity of customs and regulations that developed around their production and uses. They often became central in the most valued personal and social ceremonials, especially in the rites of passage, and are ubiquitous in such activities as births, initiations, marriages, compacts, feasts, conclaves, crownings, magic, medicine, worship, hospitality, war making, peace making, and funerals. Alcohol is thus the oldest and still probably the most widely used drug. The manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages was already common and commercialized and regulated by government in the earliest civilizations. The oldest known code of laws, that of Hammurabi of Babylonia (c. 1770 BC), regulated drinking houses. Sumerian physician-pharmacists prescribed beer (c. 2100 BC) in relatively sophisticated pharmacopoeias found on clay tablets. The later Egyptian doctors, in their medical papyri (c. 1500 BC), included beer or wine in about 15 percent of their prescriptions. The recently discovered Semitic cuneiform literature of the northern Canaanites, in pre-Biblical Ugarit, contains abundant references to the ubiquitous religious and household uses of the intoxicating fluid. Water, a precious commodity in the earliest agriculturally dependent civilizations, was probably the original fluid used as offering in worship rites. In time, other fluidsmilk, honey, and later wine (in some religions, beer)were substituted. That alcoholic beverages should have displaced other fluids in early religions, both as offering and drink, is not surprising: its capacity to help the shaman or priest and other participants reach a desired state of ecstasy or frenzy could not long have escaped observation, and its appreciation was naturally attributed to supernatural spirits and gods. The red wine in religious uses was eventually perceived as symbolizing the blood of life and, in this spiritual sense, ultimately passed into the Christian Eucharist. The records of the Egyptian as well as of the Mesopotamian civilizations attest that drinking and drunkenness had passed from the state of religious rite to common practice, often troublesome to government and accompanied by acute and chronic illnesses. There are ample indications that some people so loved drink and were so abandoned to drunkenness that they must be presumed to have been alcoholics. Among classical peoples The significance of the classical history of drinking arises from the fact that after about 300 BC the Greek, Hebrew, and Roman cultures became mingled in a mix that was to influence powerfully the development of European culture. The surviving records of ancient Greek and Roman culture, in classic pictorial and plastic art as well as in the literature transmitting prehistoric memories enshrined in myths, reveal the common and copious use of wine by the gods, as well as by people of all classes. The worship of Dionysus, or Bacchus, the wine god, was the most popular; his festival, the Bacchanalia, has given English one of its literary names for a drunken orgy. His female devotees, the Maenads, worshipped him in drunken frenzies. The Greco-Roman classics abound with descriptions of fulsome drinking and often drunkenness. The wine of the ancient Greeks, like that of the Hebrews of the same time, was usually drunk diluted with an equal part or two parts of water, and, thus, the alcohol strength of the beverage was presumably between 4 and 7 percent. But, as a standard drink, diluted wine was apparently more common than plain water, and there were topers who preferred their wine straight. The literature of the Greeks does not lack warnings of the evil effects of excess in drinking, but in this they are excelled by the classics of the Hebrew Canaanites. The earliest references in the Bible show that abundant wine was regarded as a blessing, on a par with ample milk and honey, grain and fruit. The eyes of the Judaeans were to be bright from wine, which also was known to gladden the heart of man and to bring relief to those who were bitter of heart or ready to perish. In the national religious culture that developed into the Judaism that has survived to the present, drinking was an important aspect of all important ceremonial occasionsfrom the celebration of the eight-day-old boy's circumcision to the toasting of the soul of the departed and, in between, the wedding, the arrival and departure of every Sabbath and festival, and, indeed, any sort of celebration. The purpose of drinking thus became integrated with a strict attitude of reverence for the sanctity or the importance of the occasion, to the extent that over-drinking, becoming tipsy, would manifestly be inappropriate and disapproved. Drunkenness then became a culturally negative, an alien and rejected behaviour and generally vanished from the Jewish communities. In contemporary terms, drinking was under effective social control, and the result has been the seeming paradox, fascinating to modern students of sociocultural phenomena, that a people with the highest proportion of drinkers exhibits the lowest rates of alcoholism and other alcohol-related problems. Quite a different kind of religious control was adopted later (in the 7th century) in Islam: the Qur'an simply condemned wine, and the result was an effective prohibition wherever the devout followers of Muhammad in Arabia and other lands prevailed. (The same process occurred some 1,000 years later in Europe, after the Reformation, and later still in the United States, when a number of ascetic Christian sects, resting their ideology on the Bible, made abstinence a fundamental tenet.) Like the early agriculturists of the Near East, the people of the Far East discovered the technology of manufacturing alcoholic beverages in prehistoric times. Barley and rice were the chief crops and the raw materials for producing the drink that, here too, was incorporated into religious ceremonial, both as drink and libation, with festivals featuring divine states of drunkenness. Here too, in time, the sacred drink became secularized, even while its religious uses survived, and evoked public as well as private disorders. The history of China includes several abortive efforts at control or prohibition. But, in the Far East, prohibition was effective only when religiously motivated. The Hindu Ayurvedic texts skillfully describe both the beneficent uses of alcoholic beverages and the consequences of intoxication and the diseases of alcoholism. The devout adherents of Buddhism, however, which arose in India in the 5th and 6th centuries BC and spread over southern and eastern Asia, abstain to this day, as do the members of the Hindu Brahmin caste. But most of the peoples in India, as well as in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, in China and Japan, have continued, throughout, to ferment a portion of their crops and nourish as well as pleasure themselves with the alcoholic product. In Africa, maize, millet, bananas, honey, the saps of the palm and the bamboo, and many fruits (including that of the sausage tree) have been used to ferment nutrient beers and wines, the best known being Kaffir beer and palm wines. Most of the peoples of Oceania, on the other hand, seem to have missed the discovery of fermentation. Many of the pre-Columbian Indians of North America are also exceptional in lacking alcoholic beverages until introduced to firewater by Europeans, with explosive and disastrous consequences. But the Papago Indians of the southwestern United States made a cactus wine, and the Tarahumara of northern Mexico made beers from corn and species of agave, while throughout Central and South America the aborigines made chicha and other alcoholic beverages from maize, tubers, fruits, flowers, and saps. For the most part, their drinking appears to have been regulated so as to inhibit individual alcoholism and limit drunkenness to communal fiestas.

Britannica English vocabulary.      Английский словарь Британика.