Saturday, March 27, 2010


You’ve probably heard the public service ad that says, “buzzed driving is drunk driving,” a worthy message. It reminded me that there are probably hundreds of slang terms for drunk. They include blotto, pickled, trashed, sloshed, hammered, and on and on.

But there are a few sophisticated terms, too. Most people are aware of the word inebriated, for instance. It is based on the Latin ebrius, drunk. So is the lesser known ebriety, the state of being intoxicated.

Then there’s methomania, from the Greek verb methein, to be drunk, and –mania, a compulsion. There is a tenuous connection to mead, a beverage made from fermented honey and water.

Another –mania word related to drunkenness is dipsomania. It is formed from the same –mania as above, combined with dipso-, from the Greek dypsia, thirst.

Finally, there’s crapulence, which has no connection to dung. It means intemperance in drinking. It tracks back ultimately to the Greek kraipale, a drunken headache or hangover.

Drink responsibly, people.

SIDEBAR: Hangover remedies

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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