Whether you enjoy a sensible one drink a week, or are a teetotaler, most of us know the feeling of being drunk. If you’re looking to describe how it feels, then English is the language for you! According the BBC, English has around 3000 synonyms for being drunk.
Like most synonyms, each word has a bit of a different meaning. Check out this list to expand your tipsy English for the next time you have one (drink) too many at the office Christmas party or enjoying something worth celebrating.
Tipsy is where our evening of drinking starts and is a good level to maintain at any work-related drinking event. You’re tipsy when you’ve had a glass or two of wine or beer and feel a bit warm, but aren’t drunk at all. In other words, if you were approached by your boss or superior, you wouldn’t feel nervous about what you might say.
For example: “I feel a bit tipsy, happy, and light-headed!”
I would put under this category different kinds of tipsy- wine tipsy, tequila tipsy, beer tipsy, etc. The effects of these alcohols all feel different, but with a little personal experience, it is easy to “know thyself” and decide which kind of tipsy you are in the mood for, or to match the atmosphere of a particular evening.
Buzzed is a nice synonym for being drunk to use for when you’ve had two or three glasses of wine and are on the right edge (still on the fun side of the hypothetical drinking fence) of being drunk. Your present company (those you are currently with) is a little more entertaining than they were before your first drink, you find your own sense of humor funnier than usual, it takes a little less effort to say something that would normally give you pause (make you stop and think first), and everything might feel a bit… buzzy.
You won’t feel any effects from this in the morning and you probably won’t do anything (too) stupid while you’re buzzed. However, you may end up telling the person next to you more than you normally would, so be careful with whom you spend your time.
Crystal: “Did I ever tell you about the dog I had growing up?”
Erin: “Uh oh…someone’s buzzed!”
This is one synonym for being drunk that I picked up from my dad. If he’s talking about someone being loaded, he’s referring to someone being just drunk. They’re not almost drunk and they’re not about to black out, they’re just good, old-fashioned loaded.
For example: “He was loaded at the party last night – I’ve never seen him laugh so uncontrollably!”
Smashed is a pretty solid level of drunkenness, despite my boyfriend using smashed to describe how he feels when he’s very tired. Smashed is one level below being hammered, where you may be lucky and not have a hangover, but also might do something stupid.
For example: “Oh no, he’s so smashed! Maybe we should call him a taxi and get him to bed.”
If you’re under-the-table, it’s a bit obvious just how drunk you are: at the level where it seems like a good idea to sleep it off (recover from the being drunk)…under a table. Yes, it’s also a bit of an exaggeration, but you’ve probably seen this type of behavior before. Take this short poem by Dorothy Parker as an example:
“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”
I’ll let you interpret the last line for homework.
If you’re hammered, you’re drunk to the point where you wake up the morning after and feel like you’ve been figuratively hit in the head with a hammer. Being hammered is hangover level drunk. You are probably slurring your words and doing stupid things. Maybe try not to get this level of drunk at any work function.
For example: “I was pretty hammered last night after that fifth tequila shot. I don’t feel so great this morning.”
Which reminds me of another source of great wisdom: “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.”
Wasted is a good word to describe being extremely drunk and is the last of such words on our list. You’re past hammered and are guaranteed to do something stupid, slur your words, flail (throw) your arms around, and give out free hugs to complete strangers. To top it off, you’ll definitely have a hangover the next day. It’s not a good idea to be wasted at any company function, unless you work at a brewery (and even then it should give you pause). Try to avoid being wasted, as it’s no walk in the park- literally!
For example: “He’s pretty wasted. Take away his phone so he doesn’t make any calls he’ll regret in the morning!” (AKA- Drunk Dialing)
What are some slang words and synonyms for being drunk in your native language? Share them with us in the comments below!
Erin Duffin lives in Berlin (but not for long!), is an online English teacher, yoga and breath instructor, and could very possibly be spotted enjoying an adult beverage every now and then.