This 18th Century list of synonyms for being drunk is a true delight

In 1737 Benjamin Franklin (American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States) published ‘The Drinker’s Dictionary’ – a list of 228 “round-about phrases” to describe drunkenness.

There is a certain poetry in some of these phrases which modern synonyms (‘shitfaced’, ‘bladdered’) seem to lack. We’ve selected some of our favourites and include them here:

1. He’s casting up his Accounts

2. Piss’d in the Brook

3. Drunk as a Wheel-Barrow

4. His Head is full of Bees

5. Has been in the Bibbing Plot

6. He sees the Bears


8. He’s had a Thump over the Head with Sampson’s Jawbone

9. Cherry Merry

10. Wamble Crop’d

11. Has taken a Chirriping-Glass

12. Got Corns in his Head

13. He’s been too free with the Creature

14. Sir Richard has taken off his Considering Cap

15. He’s Chap-fallen

16. Kill’d his Dog

17. He’s a Dead Man


19. He’s seen the Devil

20. He’s Eat a Toad & half for Breakfast

21. Been to France

22. As Dizzy as a Goose

23. Globular

24.Loose in the Hilts

25. Knows not the way Home

26. Jambled

27. Going to Jerusalem

28. Juicy


30. He makes Indentures with his Leggs

31. He sees two Moons

32. Seen a Flock of Moons

33. Nimptopsical

34. Smelt of an Onion

35. He drank till he gave up his Half-Penny Pidgeon Ey’d

36. Been among the Philistines

37. He’s contending with Pharaoh

38. Lost his Rudder


40. Been too free with Sir Richard

41. Like a Rat in Trouble

42. As Drunk as David’s Sow

43. His Skin is full

44. It is Star-light with him

45. Been too free with Sir John Strawberry

46. Double Tongu’d

47. He’s Trammel’d

48. He’s got a Piece of Bread and Cheese in his Head






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