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.)). The oldest recorded sense besides that of "pulling" is of "drinking" (perhaps "so much as is drawn down the throat at once"); compare drag (n.) in reference to an inhaling on a cigarette. It is attested 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.).