There are several degrees of intensity of drunkenness, ranging from a state of slight euphoria to total oblivion, which may be recognized by the way someone is speaking, moving and behaving.

In the English language, there are so many words (most of them are adjectives) describing different states of inebriation that it seems hardly productive to make any lists classifying all of them according to any criteria.

At the same time, speaking my native language, I don't need more than — let me count — eight colloquial adjectives to say to what degree someone is drunk. As for my second language, I do know some of them, such as tipsy, tiddly, tight, stoned, loaded and a few more, but…

Firstly, no dictionary provides sufficient information about the degree of acceptability of these words, depending on the group of people you interact within.

Secondly, I think that like it is in Russian, in English too, there must be a few most common colloquial adjectives that may be appropriate to be used in any company, to describe that someone is slightly, fairly, or extremely drunk.

So my question is this:

What might be some most common adjectives describing slight, fair, and extreme degrees of inebriation?

  • 2
    The question is too broad, IMO. There are many such words and phrases. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 20 '16 at 11:12
  • @TRomano - I don't need this many, a couple or so adjectives would do fine. I don't need any phrases. What should I do to have it answered, not put on hold as several of my earlier ones were already? – Victor B. Sep 20 '16 at 11:25
  • It is something of a truism that any word in the English language can be used as a euphemism for drunk. – Chenmunka Sep 20 '16 at 11:31
  • @xxxxxx - I've been there. Now I doubt that I put it clear enough for you to send me there. I'm sorry for that. – Victor B. Sep 20 '16 at 11:32
  • I know what you mean, but this question is both "too broad" and POB. – user5267 Sep 20 '16 at 11:33

In British English the ones I am most familiar with are the following:

  1. buzzed - (AmE) the person can feel the alcohol, but is still fairly capable of behaving normally and appearing sober. Could also say "I have a buzz."

  2. tipsy — the person has drunk sufficient quantities of alcohol to feel "light headed", their head may "tip" backwards or side to side. (I think this may be the origin of the expression)

  3. merry — (BrE) often reserved for female drinkers who drink on social occasions. Their inhibitions are loosened, and they may begin giggling, or laughing raucously, it depends on the state of inebriation.

  4. drunk — self explanatory. The person has drunk too much alcohol and their sense of judgement and balance is severely impaired.

  5. legless — (BrE) the person is no longer able to stand up, they have lost their legs so to speak.

  6. plastered, wasted, hammered, smashed — the person will definitely wake up hung-over, and will probably have lost all recollections of their actions the night before.

  7. shit-faced — extremely rude but among friends it can be used. Basically the person's face looks misshapen, i.e. the person is very drunk.

  • 1
    Oh, thank you, thank you very much! This is the answer I awaited. It perfectly matches my request. – Victor B. Sep 20 '16 at 11:52
  • @Rompey well this is a subjective analysis, some will disagree with me. But have a look at the dictionary definitions and the example sentences to be absolutely sure. – Mari-Lou A Sep 20 '16 at 11:57
  • @Rompey Are you specifically looking for British English, or American English as well? There's a few more I might add that are common in the US (buzzed, wasted, hammered, black-out) – David K Sep 20 '16 at 12:33
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    All of these are used in AmE except "merry" and "legless". I would add "smashed" around the same level as plastered (and as David K just added while I was typing "hammered"). – ColleenV Sep 20 '16 at 12:36
  • 1
    @DavidK you should have posted some American English expressions yourself. But thanks anyway for the edit. – Mari-Lou A Sep 20 '16 at 18:33

The number of words or phrases that are used as a euphemism for drunk is huge.

Commonly used words vary from place to place and over time.

Indeed, the British comedian Michael McIntyre has a 10 minute set that pokes fun at the many and different words that are used. (On YouTube here)

In short, you can use pretty much any word(s) you like. You will be understood.

If you want specific, current, common words used in different localities, then the answer would provide a whole book.

  • Thanks awfully. It's a pity the video you gave the link to lasts only one minute; although the main concept was voiced in it. LOL – Victor B. Sep 20 '16 at 12:01
  • I disagree you can use any word/s and you will be understood. Some are more common than others, and some are totally unfamiliar to speakers of different dialects. – Mari-Lou A Sep 20 '16 at 12:04
  • @Rompey: Ahh, I googled the link quickly. There is probably a better one out there. – Chenmunka Sep 20 '16 at 12:04
  • @Mari-LouA: To a certain exent, that is my point. Different dialects use different words, but over a huge range. Where I come from the most common are slarmied, ratted and cut but I could go on and on. – Chenmunka Sep 20 '16 at 12:07
  • The ones I have listed are very common in BrEng, and that is my point. – Mari-Lou A Sep 20 '16 at 12:08

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