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  • What Made The Crocodile Cry? – 101 questions about the English language.

  • drunkSusie Dent draws on her popular television coverage of curious questions about English
  • Supported by evidence from Oxford Dictionaries, the world’s largest language research programme
  • Reveals fascinating facts about all areas of our language, from word origins and spelling to grammar and usage

¤  Why does English have so many terms for being drunk?

There are many hundreds of words and phrases for being drunk, not just in modern times, but also throughout the history of slang. A study by one of today’s leading chroniclers of slang, Jonathon Green, of half a millennium’s worth of collected material—amounting to almost 100,000 words and phrases—shows the extent to which the same themes recur. Back in 1938, one J.Y.P. Greig wrote in the Edinburgh Review that ‘the chief stimuli of slang are sex, money and intoxicating liquor’.

Factoring in the relatively new development of illicit drug-taking, together with the less openly celebrated bodily functions and a few choice insults; you have to conclude that Mr Greig had it right.

drunkStandard English has just a handful of words for being intoxicated. Slang, on the other hand, has over 3,000. In dictionaries of slang, drunkenness comes third in the number of terms that have existed for it over the centuries, after crime and drugs. Today, you can be muntered, mullered, p***ed, slaughtered, blitzed, wrecked, trashed, plastered, sloshed, s**t-faced, wasted, bombed, canned, hammered, loaded, buzzed, smashed, or f***ed. And That’s just for starters.

The reason for such proliferation is probably born from the need for disguise. The role of slang has always been to keep others guessing. Its first role is to be a code that keeps those in the know in, and those who are not, out. As soon as the code is cracked and outsiders (often the authorities, especially parents or the police) scale the wall, then a new word is needed. Whether as an essential means of subterfuge in the criminal underworld (where Cockney rhyming slang began for just that reason) or as a marker of identity, slang is almost designed to be secret. It is a game that has been played for centuries.

Drinking has long been a habit that invites secrecy and euphemism, often mixed in with a good dose of humour. The eighteenth century saw a strong need to tiptoe around gin, creating a wonderful cocktail of terms in the process, including diddle, sweetstuff, strip-me-naked, tiger’s milk, tittery (because gin makes you titter, an older term for ‘totter’), royal bob, and the rhyming slang needle and pin, although mother’s ruin, another euphemism of the time, certainly told it as it was.

The term three sheets to the wind is at least as old as the early nineteenth century; it is a nautical metaphor suggesting that the drinker is ‘top heavy’. The sheet harks back to the days of sailing ships, when it was the rope or chain attached to the lower corners of a sail and used to extend it, or to alter its direction. To have had one over the eight is to have had more than eight pints (i.e. a whole gallon), an excessive intake of alcohol.

Many terms go back much further still. The simple word booze has been around for over 500 years, while other very old terms compare a drunken person to an animal—to a newt, for example, or to a skunk or a rat. Back in ancient Roman times, the favourite comparison was a bit different—it was to a thrush. This seems curious, but it was probably quite common in the autumn months to see thrushes tottering around in the vineyards after eating partly fermented grapes that they had stolen from the vats. So familiar must this scene have been that the Romans created a verb meaning to be drunk based on turdus, the Latin name for a thrush. A descendant, many centuries later, in Old French, was the adjective estourdi, which over time changed from meaning drunk or dazed to violent or reckless. When English took it over, thanks to the conquering warriors, the violent and reckless invaders were the strongest, and so sturdy was born. And so even innocent words may have had a drunken past.

Whether euphemistic or dysphemistic (its opposite: in other words, plain rude), it seems unlikely that the lexicon of drunkenness will tail off any time soon.

⇑  Vocabulary related to drinking liquor:-

Sober – Before a person drinks any alcohol, they are sober.

Bartender – a person who serves alcohol, usually alcoholic beverages behind the bar in a licensed establishment.

Brewski — It is slang word used for cold beer.

Pitcher / Pint — Pitcher is a large jug of beer, whereas a pint is a small bottle of beer.

Heavy Drinker – A person who drinks a lot of liquor

Aperitif – a small drink of alcoholic liquor taken to stimulate the appetite before a meal. It helps develop a good appetite.

Cocktails and Mocktails – Cocktails is a mixed alcoholic drink that requires mixing either with one type of alcohol with juices, soft drink and other fruits juices or mixing multiple alcoholic drinks with juices or ice tea.

Mocktail is any mixed drink that does not have alcohol. The name mock tail is derived the word ‘mock’ meaning to «imitate or mimic» referring to mock tails imitating a cocktail as it seems very similar to a cocktail but does not have alcohol or any other spirits.

On the rocks – Whisky served undiluted with ice cubes.

Neat — neat is to drink alcohol straight up without diluting with any juice or beverage.

Shot — Alcohol served undiluted in small glasses.

•  Hundreds of words for «drunk» . . . →[01]←  /  →[02]←

‘Tipsy’ — When your are slightly drunk you feel a little unsteady, staggering, or foolish from the effects of liquor.

‘Bombed’ — when one is highly intoxicated by drinks.

‘Three sheets to the wind’ — A popular phrase used for someone who is extremely drunk. It is mostly a sailors’ language.

‘Plastered’ – Being in a temporary state in which one’s physical and mental faculties are impaired by an excess of alcoholic drink.

‘Hungover’ (adj.) / ‘Hangover’ (noun) — The sickness caused by drinking excessive alcohol.


• Words often confused: Politicspoliticalpolitician or policy?

tit4tatVoting & Elections  ⇒UK ⇔ USA⇐

Political words … →[01]← / →[02]←

•→[m/c test]⇐(adv.)

⇐  ‘Tit for Tat’ 

English is rich in expressions for retaliation, too. Sometimes the meanings are subtle; notice the difference between ⇒«avenge» & «revenge» ⇐

⇓  Months of the Year

♦  Christmas Origins  ↓

¤  Superstitions in Britain ←

Superstitions can be defined as, «irrational beliefs, especially with regard to the unknown» (Collins English Dictionary) They cause us to act in strange ways, believe in odd things and leave us unable to explain the reasons why.

¤  How many magpies?

1  for sorrow
2  for joy
3  for a girl and
4  for a boy
5  for silver
6  for gold
7  is a secret never to be told
8  is a wish and
9  is a kiss

          10 . . .


Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of «Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens», to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.As a federal and popular holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.

The event that some Americans commonly call the «First Thanksgiving» was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621.The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, and was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating «thanksgivings»—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought, though the 1621 events were likely not a religious observation.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Spooky spooky  ⇑  very spooky
Oh no! It’s a monster
Spooky spooky – very spooky
What’s that? It’s a witch
Spooky spooky – very spooky
Watch out! It’s a vampire
Spooky spooky – very spooky
What’s that? It’s a ghost

Spooky things doing a spooky dance  (x 2)
Aaah aaah aaah Wooo wooo wooo
What kind of spooky thing are you?

Spooky spooky – very spooky
Oh no! It’s a black cat
Spooky spooky – very spooky
What’s that? It’s a spider
Spooky spooky – very spooky
It’s a Jack O’ Lantern
Spooky spooky – very spooky
What’s that? It’s a skeleton


¤  Words used to describe works of art and pictures  ⇓

abstract   (adjective)

abstract art expresses the artist’s ideas/feelings rather than showing the exact appearance of people/things.

accessible   (adjective)

accessible art, music, literature etc is easy to understand and enjoy.

aesthetic   (adjective)

relating to beauty or to the study of the principles of beauty, especially in art.

arty-crafty   (adjective)

made by someone who enjoys creating & decorating things themselves, but who you think lacks skill.

avant-garde   (adjective)

avant-garde music, art… is very modern & often shocking because it’s so different from the mainstream.

camp   (adjective)

camp art or entertainment ignores traditional ideas about what’s considered good in order to produce a humorous effect.

evocative   (adjective)

an evocative work of art expresses something very clearly & makes you have a strong reaction to it.

figurative   (adjective)

figurative art represents people, objects & scenes, rather than representing feelings or ideas.

folksy   (adjective)

made or done in a way intended to remind you of traditional art, customs, or stories.

grandiose   (adjective)

designed to look very impressive, but really looking artificial or silly.

lifelike   (adjective)

a lifelike picture, model… looks like a real person or thing.

monochrome   (adjective)

using different shades of a single colour.

pictorial   (adjective)

consisting of pictures.

pulp   (adjective)

pulp books, magazines & films have not been written very well; often about sex or violence.

seminal   (adjective)

a seminal piece of writing or music is new & different, & influences other literature or music that comes after it.

skeuomorphic   (adjective)

a skeuomorphic design includes features which make a new thing look older or more familiar.

spacey   (adjective)

spacey music or art seems to have been created by someone into drugs.

stylized   (adjective)

in a style that is artificial rather than realistic (=like life)

three-D   (adjective)

a three-D film, picture… looks as if it has height, depth & width.


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