Looking at the question "How do I instruct my daughter to drink water from a bottle from 'up'!", I suddenly struck a question.

If that girl has drunk water by touching her lips and then if any other person comes to drink that water, what should I say?

Don't drink, it is 'used' water?

Please note that I'm not talking about germs or contamination. Here, I just want to know that someone else has already drunk from the bottle.

In Hindi, we have a word/noun for that. And, it works not only for bottle but also for food.

For instance, if I have a Kit-Kat. I licked it just once (the thing is intact, unbroken, I did not bite it) and kept it in my plate and went somewhere for a moment. My wife comes and sees the chocolate-coated wafer in the plate. She takes and is about to put it in her mouth. You, being in front of her, stops her... Whoa, that's Ruchir's. She may then reply... "Oh, okay" and keeps it back.

Kit-kat is just an international example I came up with! That's because others here may not be aware of Indian dishes that we eat with our hands. For instance, khichdi. You never know whether someone has already eaten from the plate. So, you may 'replace' khichdi with kit-kat above!

I am eager to know the native speakers' answer about this. Is there any word that describes someone has already drunk/eaten from that bottle/dishes.

J.R.'s comment about someone having mouth on it is perfect for drink/bottle. But ...food?

Thank You.

  • 1
    I think this question is different from ell.stackexchange.com/questions/16330 . That question is about warning an adult that a specific container was used by a sick person, whereas this question is about teaching a child to not drink directly from bottles. The two situations have different urgencies. The answers may suggest different words, or different grammatical forms.
    – Jasper
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 21:44
  • 1
    Yes, that is what you should say.
    – user6951
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 22:02

2 Answers 2


As a native speaker, I wonder: is the problem with the water, or with the bottle?

That said, a few expressions come to mind. The first one is the most direct:

You might not want to drink from that bottle; Ann already had her mouth on it.

The second is more of a euphemism than a scientific fact:

Don't drink from that bottle – it has germs.

(We don't know for a fact that the water has any contaminants, but the word germs is often used to refer to unseen microorganisms that could spread disease, particularly in informal speech.)

Because the concern is mainly with someone else drinking from the bottle, you could also say:

Be careful! That may have someone's backwash in it.

TFD labels this definition of backwash as "informal", while the Urban Dictionary says:

Backwash is often created inadvertently or unintentionally when liquid escapes the mouth during the process of drinking .. When multiple people drink from the same container, there will usually be some amount of backwash put back into the container.

As a footnote, the adjective for drinkable water is potable, though anyone who would deem bottled water as non-potable simply because someone else drank from the bottle is probably using extreme hyperbole, or else is an overly sensative germaphobe.

  • 2
    +1. For the younger set, you could also use: "You might not want to drink from that bottle. It has cooties."
    – Adam
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 19:57
  • Excellent answer. having a mouth on something fulfills the purpose. Thanks :) +1
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 8:55

If you want to embarrass your daughter (as a mild punishment for drinking directly out of the bottle), you could say something (to the other person who wants what is in the bottle) like:

Oooh, gross! Ann just drank out of that bottle!

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