A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Give me all your money or you’re geography!” (bank robbery joke) (6/24)
“A tragedy is a ship full of bankers sinking. A catastrophe is when they can all swim” (6/24)
“You said you had between ten and fifteen million dollars in the bank” (joke) (6/24)
“Cell phones keep getting thinner and smarter…people the opposite” (6/24)
“Before you diagnose yourself with depression, first make sure you’re not surrounded by assholes” (6/24)
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Entry from February 08, 2009
“Coffee, n. break fluid”

"Coffee” has been defined as “break fluid”—a pun on the terms “coffee break” and “brake fluid.” The saying is sold on coffee mugs (of course) and has been cited in print from the 1960s and 1970s.

“Coffee, n. the person upon whom one coughs” is another jocular definition.

Coffee, n. break fluid.
Mug by aleen27

20 May 1965, Newport (RI) Daily News, pg. 5, col. 4:
“A small coffee shop near several service stations advertises ‘Coffee Break Fluid.’”

Google Books
Dictionary of Quotable Definitions
Compiled by Eugene E. Brussell
Published by Prentice-Hall
Pg. 92:
Break fluid.
R. R. Anderson

14 December 1975, Lebanon (PA) Daily News, Family Weekly, “Quips & Quotes,” pg. 19, col. 3:
Coffee: Break fluid.—Dorothea Kent

28 April 1977, Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), pg. 2, col. 7 ad:
When you need to stop, you should have good break fluid! The right fluid for your every break is Hanka Coffee!

31 December 1984, (Santa Fe, NM), “Jumble,” pg. A8, col. 4:
What coffee often is—A “BREAK” FLUID

Coffee Moments
Coffee, n. break fluid. ~ Author unknown. Because workaholics need a break, too. (Or at least, an attempt at one ...)
(This blog began in August 2008—ed.)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, February 08, 2009 • Permalink