The term social lubricant is any food, beverage, drug or activity that stimulates social interactions or helps people feel more comfortable in social occasions. Different cultures use different social lubricants for this purpose. Some common social lubricants are:
- Humor is the most prevalent social lubricant spanning all cultures and age groups.
- Alcoholic beverages (beer in pub culture, or wine in wine bars, for example)
- Coffee (in coffee cultures, for example)
- Tea (at tea parties, for example)
- Tobacco (in cigarettes or a hookah, for example)
The earliest known usage of the term can be found in Steve Allen's book, "How to be Funny". In the introduction he writes, "Humor is a social lubricant that helps us get over some of the bad spots."
The term social lubricant appears on page 110 of the book titled "Alcoholics Anonymous" in the chapter "To Wives." "We know all about liquor as a social lubricant." The first edition of the "Big Book" was published in 1939.