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I know the word "down" can have different meanings: go down the street, go down south, etc. In British English it means "move away from the centre". However, the sentence "I bumped into him a couple of weeks ago down the pub and we had a drink" seems a bit unusual to me. What exactly does "down" mean here?
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Hi,
I know the word "down" can have different meanings: go down the street, go down south, etc. In British English it means "move away from the centre". However, the sentence "I bumped into him a couple of weeks ago down the pub and we had a drink" seems a bit unusual to me. What exactly does "down" mean here?

It's short for 'down at the pub'.

In informal English, the direction 'down' is quite often used in speaking of places that are familiar and close to us.

eg I have to go down (to) Tom's house.
This suggests that Tom lives nearby, and that I go there quite often.

I think this is characteristic of British English but but not of American English.

Best wishes, Clive
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Ah, thanks a lot. I didn't know that meaning ("familiar" or "close") and the dictionary does not have this definition either. Yes, this is British English.

It's a colloquialism.

"Down (at) the pub"

"Down (to) the pub"

Meaning, out drinking at the pub.

CliveI think this is characteristic of British English but but not of American English.

In Southern New Jersey we go "down the shore". There are other contexts for that use. You can go down the police station, down the bar, down the library, down the supermarket, etc. The import seems to be that you will do something when you get there, so the others besides "shore" are usually accompanied by a function: "I'm going to go down the library and get a book." "Let's go down Jim's house and see his new dog."

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