Monday 1 November 2010

What does ‘drunk’ mean to you?

What's your definition of being drunk? It’s a term I use often and casually but when does it trip over from being ‘not drunk’ into ‘drunk’? And how carefully should we use it?

Is it when we have an elevated sense of enjoyment? Is it when we’re laughing more, talking rubbish and offering to get the next round in? Is it when we stand and feel a little ‘woo’? Maybe when we realise that we’re beginning to slur words a little and everything is getting slower (except time which is speeding along)? Is it when we know we’ve had a few and that the next has to be the last? Is it when we leave the pub and stumble around, knocking into mates, lacking control? Is it when we sit on the train and the carriage starts to spin and we’re not entirely sure what’s going on? Is it when we’re throwing up somewhere or passed out?

I don’t know the answer to this one myself but I’m interested in what people class as drunk or not drunk and where on the spectrum of inebriation ‘drunk’ actually falls. Is it having had one too many or is it having had five too many? Are you ‘drunk’ when you reach your personal limit (what is this limit - a couple of pints or the point at which you can’t drink more without passing out) or is ‘being drunk’ a lot more than that? The dictionary says “being in a temporary state in which one’s physical and mental faculties are impaired by an excess of alcoholic drink; intoxicated” which leaves it open to debate.

And how carefully should we use the term ‘drunk’? Is it negative as if to suggest you’ve done something terribly wrong or is it a casual term? Does it all depend on the situation and the actions? What do you think?

This video (above) and this one shows some really drunk people. My favourite is the guy in the second video who is given the breathalyser test but thinks it’s a bottle and tries to drink from it!


  1. For myself, I would class "drunk" as somewhere beyond that point when I know I shouldn't drive (half to a pint depending on strength), by which I mean to say that I know my facilities are at least slightly impaired with almost any alcohol.

    I associate "drunk" with being beyond my personal comfort zone, when I stand up and find it a little bit more difficult than I thought to catch my balance. "Spinny room" is a clear sign, but that doesn't usually happen until later, when I lie down and close my eyes. I never get properly falling-down drunk - I know I have a vomit trigger* which always kicks in before that point, so always avoid (these days).

    *Apologies for using this term at this time in the morning.

  2. It's a very difficult question to answer as when you are drinking in your own head you are never drunk. In reflection of a nights drinking for me it's the point I start waffling on a load of crap that doesn't make much sense and embarasses me to remember.

  3. Have a night off the grog, Dredgie. Fruit tea is nice. Do your liver a world of good.

  4. Drunk is when you are past the float level.

    The float level is that point, after a couple and maybe just into the third, where you become miraculously witty, good at pool and darts, intelligent and good looking.

    This lasts for the duration of approximately one pint, after which you become a drunk and useless clown.

    It is possible to maintain the float level indefinitely, and never become 'drunk'. But this involves consuming alcohol at exactly the rate you are processing it, and that's about one unit per hour. Stunningly unlikely.

  5. Proper drunk is usually about six pints with varying degrees of a bit drunk below that.

  6. I class myself as drunk when there is some element of difficulty in remembering what I did/drank the previous day. Used to do that a lot when I was younger but I prefer to stop when I'm pleasantly merry.

  7. I'd say i was drunk after a pint of anything over 3%.

    Seriously - i wouldn't conduct a meeting, give a presentation, drive a car - the sort of things i would do without the beer.

  8. I would define drunk as when you become to some extent out of control, and either do things you would regret the next day, or do things you don't remember. Feeling some effect from alcohol is not remotely the same thing as being drunk.

  9. I think "Stig" hit the nail on the head. Well said lol.