Friday, July 10, 2009

We Have More Words for 'Drunk' than the Inuit Have for 'Snow'

From the Oxford Canadian Thesaurus (Oxford University Press, 2004)

Drunk -- adjective

Intoxicated, inebriated, inebriate, impaired, drunken, tipsy, under the influence; informal plastered, smashed, bombed, sloshed, sozzled, sauced, lubricated, well-oiled, wrecked, juiced, blasted, stinko, blitzed, half-cut, fried, wasted, hopped up, gassed, polluted, pissed, tanked (up), soaked, out of one's head/skull, loaded, trashed, hammered, soused, buzzed, befuddled, besotted, pickled, pixilated, canned, cockeyed, blotto, blind drunk, roaring drunk, dead drunk, punch-drunk, ripped, stewed, tight, merry, the worse for wear, far gone, pie-eyed, in one's cups, three sheets to the wind; literary crapulous.

-- opposites: sober.

56 synonyms, and I haven't even added the 19 synomyms for Drunk as a noun, for which there is also only one listed opposite (i.e., teetotaller).

As for the great anthropological urban legend of the vast lexicography of 'snow' in the Inuit language (ever expanding with every telling it seems) read here.

Graham Greene once delivered a dead-pan line in a movie (I can't recall which one off-hand), in which he said bluntly: "And we have only one word for snow. We call it 'snow'."

So much for the great anthropological 'snow' hoax. But, hey, it's the week-end. And as they say at the LCBO: "Drink responsibly." After all, there are 56 ways (and counting) to mess up. No need to get crapulous.

1 comment:

Osh said...

Incidentally, where I grew up, we sometimes called it "half in the bag." -- 'Drunk', that is, not 'snow'.