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Apparently German academics read this blog

Britain’s unique drinking culture and sense of humour have given the English language 546 words meaning drunk, researchers have found.

Linguists have discovered that in Eng­lish virtually any noun can be transformed into a “drunkonym”, a synonym for intoxication, by adding “ed” at the end, and have listed hundreds of formally identified examples. These ­included expressions such as “trolleyed”, “hammered”, “wellied” and ­“steampigged”.

Professor Christina Sanchez-Stockhammer, of Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany, believes that it is down to Britain’s drinking habits and absurdist sense of humour. “In Eng­lish there’s an extremely large number of words that can mean drunk, and more can be formed simply by adding ‘ed’ to the end. It means pretty much any word in Britain can inherit the meaning ‘drunk’ from the context.

One reader here – and it must have been at least a decade back – once explained his son’s (hmm, maybe nephew?) go to comedy routine. Which was to tell a story about copious drinking while creating these new synoyms for being drunk. One of which I recall was “lawnmowered”. The linguistic point of the routine being absolutely what our German Professor has now discovered.

So, you read it here first. The Tim Worstall blog, beating academia by a decade.

Now, to get really linguistically interesting, you can also do the same with tits. The technique is a little different but the linguistic trick is the same. Boobs, boobies, baps, puppies, norks and on and on. The meaning comes from the context, not the word.

39 thoughts on “Apparently German academics read this blog”

  1. Say to a foreigner that someone went out “on the piss” and came back “shitfaced” and they’ll assume some terribly unhygienic incident occurred.

  2. That was low Paul; you owe me a bottle of mind bleach. Or at least enough scotch to get completely bungalowed.

  3. not every word can be appropriated some are already taken for other cultural uses.
    I went to the pub and got bottled.

  4. “Not drunk is he who from the floor
    Can rise alone and still drink more;
    But drunk is he, who prostrate lies,
    Without the power to drink or rise.”

  5. The mention of tits reminded me of an expression I haven’t heard for a long time:
    Over-shoulder-boulder-holder = bra.

  6. I wonder where getting “totally mullered” came from.

    Gerd ?

    I seetalking of academics, that Andreas Brehme has died only 63,

  7. Great big… tracts of land. “She’s got a fine future in front of her.”
    Or expressions for drinks?
    Couple I can recall from the pub: A pint of nigerian. Nigerian lager= Guinness.
    And general term for draught lager – rat’s.
    There was a City term for gin & tonic but damned if I can remember. Anyone?

  8. It’s years since I’ve been oystered

    Similarly. It seems that long since Adnam’s brewed Oyster stout. At least we can still get Olded in the winter.

  9. Is “tired and emotional” to mild for today’s linguistic fashions? It’s always been my favourite.

    Incidentally, I am reliably informed that the German for hangover is “Katzenjammer”, which I do like the sound of (the word, not the experience!).

  10. I seem to remember that a “mild and bitter” used to be called a mother-in-law. No doubt also unfashionable nowadays.

    It could also be referred to as a ” ‘Narfanarf”.

    If you requested a half-pint of the aforementioned, you were having a Narfanarfanarf. Or maybe a larf.

  11. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Along the same lines, there is, at least when one is absolutely and totally whiteboarded, no sentence in the English language which cannot be rendered hilarious by someone else adding “said the actress to the bishop”.

  12. From blokeinspain …
    > Over-shoulder-boulder-holder = bra.

    There’s also

    “Between the butt, nut hut” – mens underwear

  13. There’s a similar effect with “one [something] short of a [something else]”.

    Just pick random nouns.

    (Proceeds to pick random nouns from email inbox.)

    Richard Murphy is one rental short of a threshold.

    Richard Murphy is one acacia short of an opera.

    Richard Murphy is one carburettor short of a shitstorm.

    Richard Murphy is one heron short of a Range Rover.

    Some make less sense than others, but they all mean the same thing.

  14. Govt lends you money. What you do with it is up to you.


    They’ve still got to pay back the loan. Note they didn’t spend the fees money on the business, it was the maintenance grant.

  15. Eskimos have over 50 words describing various states of “snow.” Snow is very important in their lives. The differences – moisture content, crunchiness, flake size, melt-and-freeze effects – are important when you deal with snow daily.

    Apparently, drunkenness is very important in British life. Which, on its own, is not a bad thing.

  16. It’s more of a moral thing than legal. If they were accepting loans for maintenance, they obviously didn’t need it, since the money went to their business plans. Depends on whether you see government money as some sort of “right”*. As an aside, if you can run two businesses simultaneously with attending a university degree course, it says a great deal about university degree courses.
    Speaking as a taxpayer, I wouldn’t mind getting unsecured (very) long term loans where you don’t have to pay the money back if your business plan fails. (The business plan being the degree not the start-up) And then using them for something else. Think the lender might have something to say about that. Damned if I like someone else being able to get one.

    * Of course, that it is part of why the country’s so utterly fucked.

  17. @bobby b
    I’ve heard that’s actually a myth. It’s based on how some languages compound up words. Common with primitive languages. You might say English has a similar number with noun+adjective(+adjective?) combinations.

  18. «Eskimos have over 50 words describing various states of “snow.”»

    Peter Høeg’s novel ‘Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow’ was rather good on this.

  19. I think the boche and their various confederates and satrapies could beat us on term related to being drunk on power though.

    Totally fuhrered, verhofstadted, delored, macroned, commissioned, eued……….

  20. Hallowed Be @ February 20, 2024 at 1:05 pm

    “I went to the pub and got bottled”

    Reminds me of the WW2 headline, “8th Army Push Bottles Up Germans”

  21. @Meissen Bison

    Damn, how could I have forgotten him!

    Have to confess though, of that whole hive of scum and villainy, I did have a bit of a soft spot for that superannuated old soak

  22. Blimey, it’s from Glen Whitman – same bloke who used to run the “Two Things About Everything ” site. Busy man – might even have read some of his economics too at some point.

  23. Bloke in California

    Reminds me of the WW2 headline, “8th Army Push Bottles Up Germans”

    They don’t like it up ’em!

  24. My other favourite drunk word is Paralytic, which can be correctly pronounced only by a Weegie. Listen to “Codliver oil and the orange juice” for a demonstration.

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