In The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Manny advised Jordan Belfort to pay a million dollar fine for stock manipulation, walk away from Stratton Oakmont, and put Donnie in charge so that the SEC and Agent Denham wouldn’t pursue him ever again, but Jordan Belfort didn’t follow the advice:

Jordan Belfort: Within days, subpoenas started flying. Notices to produce documents, depositions, you name it. Donnie couldn't drink water fast enough.

What does "couldn't drink water fast enough" mean?

  • In context, something to do with 'watered' (fraudulently issued) stock, I suspect. Commented Mar 9 at 10:26
  • 1
    You should ask "What does it mean?", not means. Commented Mar 9 at 10:31
  • @KateBunting Done. Commented Mar 9 at 10:36
  • Is there any reason to suppose that it is not literal? "Donnie was unable to imbibe H₂O at a high enough rate"
    – James K
    Commented Mar 9 at 12:05

2 Answers 2


"Donnie pisses on a subpoena, to applause".

202H INT. STRATTON OAKMONT III - JORDAN'S OFFICE - DAY 202H (SPRING ‘96) . Janet enters Jordan's office, leaves a stack of legal papers on his desk.

JORDAN (V.O.) Within days, subpoenas started flying. They were burying me in paper --

202Ha INT. STRATTON OAKMONT III - BULLPEN - DAY (SPRING ‘96) 202Ha Donnie pisses on a subpoena, to applause.

JORDAN (V.O.) -- notices to produce documents, depositions. Donnie couldn't drink water fast enough.


In order to be able to continue his show of bravado, he has to drink a lot of water, as many legal notices were arriving.

  • 1
    Interesting how may water-related expressions there are in finance. One can take a bath with investments, a company needs to wash its face. Probably more. Commented Mar 9 at 11:39

I think it's a symbolic way of expressing that I could not meet a demand or relieve a condition quickly enough to keep up with the pace at which it was needed or happening. Or we can say this expression can be applied to situations where efforts to address a problem, fulfill a need, or keep up with something are overwhelmed by the speed or intensity of the situation.

  • Yes, all the activity was dehydrating him.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 9 at 13:45

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