c. 1200, "act of pulling or drawing; quantity of liquid that one drinks at a time," from Old English *dreaht, *dræht, related to dragan "to draw, drag" (see drag (v.)). Oldest sense besides that of "pulling" is of "drinking." From c. 1300 as "that which is drawn or written." In British English, it retains the functions that did not branch off with draft (q.v.).