35 Great Drinking Words and Synonyms for ‘Drunk’

Some interesting synonyms for ‘drunk’, plus other useful words relating to drinking

There are few words that have more colourful synonyms than ‘drunk’, ‘intoxicated’, ‘soused’, ‘pickled’ – whatever you choose to call a state of alcohol-induced inebriation. Writers have often drawn on these synonyms for intoxication, and have even added or popularised some of their own. For instance, the great comic writer P. G. Wodehouse, as we revealed in our post on 10 great words he coined, invented one or two. But this is our list of some of the more unusual and descriptive terms for states of drunkenness. So grab a glass of your favourite tipple and imbibe these fine words.

Historical synonyms for ‘partially drunk’ include semi-bousy, tipsy, mellow, cherry-merry, groggified, squizzed, whiffled, and tiddly.

In the past, synonyms for ‘drunk’ (that is, not just a little tipsy but full-on three sheets to the wind) included cup-shot, whip-cat, pottical, nappy, sack-sopped, bumspy, in the pots, tap-shackled, and fap.

Capernoited means ‘slightly muddled in the head as a result of drink’.

American writer O. Henry coined the word spifflicated as a synonym for ‘drunk’.

Drunk imagesThe word genevered means specifically to be drunk on gin; it appears in a work of 1759 by Edward Young.

Doundrins denotes afternoon drinking.

A 1913 New York Times article on portmanteaus includes the word alcoholiday, describing leisure time spent drinking. A brannigan is a drinking spree. Quaff-tide was an Elizabethan word meaning ‘the season for drinking’.

H. L. Mencken coined the word ombibulous for someone who will drink anything. He used the word to describe himself.

A shotclog is ‘a drinking companion who is tolerated because they pay for the drinks’.

A quaffer is a drink that is especially pleasant.

There is a word, muckibus, meaning ‘drunkenly sentimental’ – it is first recorded in a 1756 letter by the Gothic novelist Horace Walpole.

In the seventeenth century, humpty-dumpty was the name given to a drink of ale boiled with brandy.

A fearnought is ‘a drink to keep up the spirits’; it is first recorded in Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-HurPot-valiant is an old term meaning ‘courageous because of drink’.

The word amethyst literally means ‘not drunk’ or ‘without drunkenness’, since the precious stone was thought to prevent drunkenness.

A bladderclock is the word for drinking the right amount of water so that you wake up at the right time in the morning.

Cropsick means ‘having a stomach ache from too much drink’.

A stiffener is an alcoholic drink which revives you; the word first appears in a 1928 novel by Dorothy L. Sayers.

That concludes our list of great synonymous for drunkenness and other drink-related words. But why not stay and have another drink? Why not imbibe these 25 weird words for rare phobias? And our interesting facts about words and language?

Image: Wine and hard liquor bottles photographed through a multiprism filter; by Kotivalo, 2012; Wikimedia Commons.

11 thoughts on “35 Great Drinking Words and Synonyms for ‘Drunk’”

  1. Bladderclock! I read somewhere that Native Americans used to drink a lot of water before going to sleep so they’d get up pretty early in the morning to go on a raid. And I look at Amethyst and wonder why it never occurred to me! :D

  2. “Mellow” is a preferable state of being ;)

    I’m also partial to “Quaff-tide”, although I had previously been under the impression that it was not a ‘season’, but rather a ‘time’. I suppose it doesn’t really matter… tis a time for all seasons after all!

    Never heard of a “shotclog”. I am now in the market for one.

  3. I never heard “shotclog” before, but yeah, there were several people I put up with just because they paid my booze bill. I’m not proud of that, but I did it.


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