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A BBC article is titled "Can you think yourself drunk?". What does it mean? There's no such an expression, "think yourself", as far as I know

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  • This is a different usage, but think oneself is also an expression that means "Think of one's self as _____". For example, "He thought himself very unlucky."
    – stangdon
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:05

2 Answers 2

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It's an unusual expression, but it simply means "make yourself drunk by thinking." It's similar to constructions like

beat yourself black and blue (make yourself black and blue by beating)

or

paint the wall red (make the wall red by painting)

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    You sometimes hear of drunk people trying to 'think themselves sober' (become sober by the power of thought). I believe any perceived success is likely to be illusory, as it is with the common 'woo-medicine' idea, seen in various forms, which tries to sell sick people the idea that they can 'think themselves well'. Dec 16, 2021 at 16:14
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    I'm not sure what the origin of this is, but there's a book called Think Yourself Rich which supposedly tells you how to make yourself rich by thinking about it. And more recently Think Yourself Thin.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 16, 2021 at 17:45
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    @StuartF - you can think yourself rich if your thinking leads you to write books about thinking yourself rich to sell to to gullible people, whose numbers, I am told, increase at the rate of one every minute. Dec 16, 2021 at 17:57
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    I did once read about an experiment where subjects were given, a number of throwaway plastic beakers, containing either plain distilled water or the same with a healthy shot of vodka. A considerable number of the plain water drinkers reported feeling drunk and, indeed, became quite jolly in their demeanour. Dec 16, 2021 at 18:01
  • @MichaelWokeHarvey That's the placebo effect, which is somewhat different from deliberately thinking yourself drunk.
    – Barmar
    Dec 17, 2021 at 16:23
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Two possible and closely-related meanings:

  • Think of yourself as being X (Think yourself lucky / fortunate / special / clever / young / wealthy / tall)

  • Make yourself X by means of a thought process. (Think yourself calm / sober / decisive)

But of these, only "think yourself lucky" is really idiomatic, except as a question ("Think yourself poor? Just wait till next year...")

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    Normally that question would be phrased "Think you're poor?"
    – Barmar
    Dec 17, 2021 at 16:21

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