to drown the miller

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An old expression much used by sailors in the Royal Navy during the days of sail to indicate that more than the statutory amount of water had been mixed with the rum in the daily ration of grog. The statutory mixture was three parts of water to one part of rum, but some pursers were tempted to ‘drown the miller’ to make the rum go further, pocketing the difference in value.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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