"I had a bit of a thirst on." ITV-Good morning Britain (see:4:22-4:25)

Is this simply another way of saying "I'm thirsty."?

  • merriam-webster.com/dictionary/a%20bit%20of%20a%2Fan It's also in the Cambridge Dictionary. + to have something [going] on
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 21 at 19:43
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    It's another way of saying 'I was thirsty'. Commented Feb 21 at 19:43
  • 3
    My guess is that almost all instances of someone having a bit of a thirst [on] will be effectively metaphoric - the subject wants to drink alcohol. Unqualified I'm thirsty rarely has that implication. Commented Feb 21 at 19:53
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    Yes, exactly that. If you understand it now, you can write an answer.
    – James K
    Commented Feb 21 at 20:42
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    I think we should stop telling learners what to use and not to use. Advanced learners are not beginners. And Yunus is advanced. There are other ways to say things such as people generally don't say this OR this is a one-off usage OR this works but only in conversation. etc.etc.etc.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 23 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


Well, it's past tense, so more like "I WAS thirsty." But yes, essentially the same thing. "A bit of a thirst" means just a little thirsty. You weren't on the brink of dying of dehydration.

It's informal speech, and while I've heard people say it, I haven't heard it said often. Know what it means but I wouldn't add it to your own speech.


I've never heard a speaker of American English use the phrase "I had a bit of a thirst on", but I do recall hearing it on TV shows set in the Australian outback. In context, it was as FumbleFingers remarked -- the guy wanted a beer.

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