Most of us enjoy a tipple (for better or worse), with the amount of words describing it’s adverse effects being potentially endless whatever their origins. So after extensive (and yeah, inebriated, discussion) in my local recently, I decided to conduct some research of my own. Well, it keeps me busy and away from crime, anyway.
Swizzled, fuddled and boozed are familiar ways to refer to having one (or four) too many drinks – but there are actually nearly 200 historical words for ‘drunk’ that are just as satisfying to say.
You would be safe to bet on a round at the pub that ‘wasted‘ (1968), ‘worse for wear‘ (1966) and ‘pissed‘ (1929) are included in the run-down of 193 synonyms on an online Historical Thesaurus list set up by the University of Glasgow.
Luckily, if you have run out of original ways to refer to having downed too much ale or plonk, then look towards ‘plotzed‘ (1962) and the US slang word ‘schnockered‘ (1955), as you may agree that they describe getting completely rat-arsed perfectly. That’s one of mine, by the way.
My favourites include ‘symbelwlonc’ – one of the earliest recorded words for ‘drunk’ in Old English – as well as ‘splifficated‘ (1906), ‘whiffled’ (1927), ‘pot-shotten‘ (1629), ‘fox-drunk‘ (1592) and ‘in one’s cups‘ (1611).
So the next time you wake up, your throat raw, your stomach staunchly resisting gravity by trying to exit your mouth, and your head hosting a house party for a load of marauding Cossacks – don’t worry too much. You’re six feet above, not below…
– And at least you’re in good literary company.