Here in the South, you can be drinking – everything from a cold beer with your burger to sipping on a martini at a bar. You can also be drankin’ – imbibing anything alcoholic while you are thinking about being up to no good. But once you are drunk, you are either (a) fully-committed to being up to no good or (b) up to no good with your clothes off.
In my first novel, Lord Love a Duke, my heroine gets “drunk to a merry pin” on some medicinal brandy. In my upcoming release, Earl Crazy, the hero is a light drinker and consequently goes “half seas over” rather quickly while contemplating the tragic idea of getting married.
There are many vulgar terms for “drunk,” but the Word of the Week is by far my favorite.
drunk; c. 1300, from Old French desguiser (11c.); oldest sense preserved in phrase disguised with liquor (1560s).
Drink sir, is a great provoker of three things….nose painting, sleep and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire but takes away the performance. (The Porter; Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 3)
Just for fun, here are several synonyms for disguised:
altitudes, boosey, candy, corned, cup-shot, cut, flawd (flawed), flustered, fuddled, groggy, groggified, hocus, lushey, pogy, sucky, top heavy
Other terms and phrases closely related to being disguised, or in the act of becoming disguised:
clear (very drunk)
drunk as a wheel barrow (laying down, sleeping-it-off drunk)
drunk as a lord (drunk, but functioning)
drunk as an emperor (ten times more drunk than a lord)
drunk to a merry pin (slightly elevated with liquor; modern would be buzzed)
half seas over (almost drunk; see also drop in the eye, mellow, and tipsey)
hare (he has swallowed a hare/hair, the hair needs washing down, meaning he is drunk)
hockey (drunk with strong stale beer, called old hock)
in the gun (he is very drunk, likely an allusion to a vessel called a gun that was used for ale in the universities)
maudlin (a crying drunk; perhaps derived from Mary Magdalene, called maudlin as she was always painted with tears)
mauled (extremely drunk)
to buy the sack (to get drunk)
wrapt up in warm flannel (drunk with spirituous liquors)
If you chance upon someone who is disguised, feel free to call them:
choice spirit, ensign bearer, fuddle cap, rat (if they get arrested by the watch!), old soaker, surveyor of the highways (reeling drunk), swill tub, toss pot
Bonus for the week: drunk as David’s sow
This is a common saying which took its rise from the following: One David Lloyd, a Welchman who kept an alehouse at Hereford, had a living sow with six legs, which was often looked at by the curious. He also had a wife terribly addicted to drunkenness (for which he sometimes had to give her correction). One day, David’s wife imbibed one cup too many and, being fearful of the consequences, turned out the sow and lay down herself to sleep in the stye. When visitors came to look at the sow, her husband, presuming it to be in the stye, ushered them in, exclaiming “There is a sow for you! Did you ever see such another?” Some of the company, upon seeing the state of the woman, replied it was the drunkenest sow they had ever beheld. Thereafter the woman was ever called David’s sow. (paraphrased from Grose’s dictionary)
Helpful tip for the week: it’s bad manners to invite your friends to a party and then turn it into Dutch Feast (any entertainment where the host gets drunk before the guests).