My boss subscribes to Harper’s, and every few months she brings me a stack. In the January 2015 issue, in the section called “Readings,” is a glossary nicely titled “Alcoholics Synonymous,” which lists twenty-four slang terms used by British students to describe “drunkenness or the effect of drugs.” I’ve heard only one of them, “sloshed.” “Swilled,” I assume, is a variation on the verb “to swill.” “Hoovered” is intriguing: president, dam or vacuum cleaner? “Hamstered” is evocative, but the Harper’s list hardly amounts to a sip compared to the ocean accumulated by Paul Dickson in Intoxerated: The Definitive Drinker’s Dictionary (Melville House, 2009). He identifies 2,985 synonyms for “drunk.” A few favorites: “staying late at the office,” “heroic,” “T.U.B.B.” (“tits up but breathing”), “back teeth afloat,” “been too free with Sir John Strawberry” and “Betty Ford-ed.” Call it folk poetry, much of it better than what passes for the certified stuff.
I like that one.