How do you say drunk in British?

There are many colorful slang terms and idioms in British English to describe someone who has had too much to drink and is intoxicated or drunk. From simple terms like “tipsy” and “tiddly” to more descriptive phrases like “bladdered” or “sozzled”, Brits have a wide range of expressions to talk about drunkenness.

In this article, we’ll go through the most common British English words and phrases to say someone is drunk, explain what they mean, and provide examples of how they are used in context. Whether you’re looking to expand your English vocabulary or gain insights into British drinking culture, this guide will give you plenty of drunk British English vocabulary to work with. So let’s dive in!

Basic Ways to Say Drunk in British English

Here are some simple, straightforward terms the British use to describe someone who is inebriated or intoxicated:


The most literal and widely-understood word for being drunk is simply “drunk” itself. For example:

“He got drunk at the office party and made a fool of himself.”

“I was so drunk last night I can barely remember how I got home.”


Someone who is slightly drunk, but not completely inebriated may be described as “tipsy.” For example:

“After a couple of glasses of wine she was starting to feel a bit tipsy.”

“I only had two beers, so I was just tipsy and not full-on drunk.”


Similar to drunk, “intoxicated” is a formal or medical way to say someone is under the influence of alcohol. For example:

“The man was arrested for disorderly conduct while intoxicated.”

“She became intoxicated after doing shots at the club.”


A very informal British slang term for being very drunk is “plastered.” For example:

“Mate, Chris was absolutely plastered last night – I’ve never seen him so drunk!”

“I got plastered at my own birthday party and could barely stand up.”


To be “wasted” also indicates someone is extremely drunk or intoxicated in British slang. For example:

“Jane was so wasted she threw up on the taxi ride home.”

“We got wasted on tequila shots and made complete fools of ourselves.”

Moderate Levels of Drunkenness in British English

The British have many colorful terms to convey the state of being more than just tipsy, but not excessively drunk. Here are some common ways to say someone is moderately drunk:


If someone is “sloshed” they are pretty drunk, and possibly messy or clumsy as a result. For example:

“I bumped into Adam at the pub last night and he was completely sloshed after just a few pints.”

“Mindy got sloshed at the office party and spilled red wine all over her boss’s new dress!”


To describe someone as being “tiddly” indicates they are happily drunk and merry, maybe even giggly or giddy. For example:

“We were all quite tiddly after a day of wine tasting in the Cotswolds.”

“Your speech gets all slurred when you’re tiddly – it’s hilarious!”


“Tippling” refers to drinking alcohol in small amounts. So someone who is “tippled” is lightly buzzed or drunk. For example:

“Grandma had one sherry too many and was a bit tippled by the end of Christmas dinner.”

“The ladies who lunch downtown always seem tippled when they leave the cafe after their gossip sessions.”


If someone is “squiffy,” it means they are starting to get drunk and perhaps a bit clumsy or wobbly. For example:

“After his third pint, Mark was getting a bit squiffy and bumped into the table.”

“I know I’ve had enough to drink when I start feeling squiffy and running into things.”

Very Drunk British English Terms

Brits get very creative when it comes to slang terms for extreme drunkenness. Here are some lively British English expressions for being very intoxicated:


To be “bladdered” means someone is extremely drunk, Hammered, or plastered. The term implies a sense of messiness. For example:

“It’s only 9pm and Andy is already completely bladdered.”

“I got so bladdered at the event last night I could barely find my way home.”

Off one’s trolley

If someone is “off their trolley,” it means they are very drunk to the point of acting crazy, irrational, or eccentric. For example:

“Be careful talking to Uncle Bob once he’s off his trolley – he has no filter!”

“She was so off her trolley last night she was running down the street singing at the top of her lungs.”

Out of it

To describe someone as being “out of it” suggests they are intoxicated to the point of being unaware of what’s going on around them. For example:

“I was so out of it at the party last night I barely said two words to anyone.”

“He drank so much tequila he was completely out of it – the alcohol really hit him hard.”


If someone is extremely drunk from drinking a lot of alcohol, Brits may say they are “wellied.” The term implies being unsteady on one’s feet. For example:

“I found Mark wellied in the bathroom – he’d thrown up from drinking too much.”

“She was so wellied after all those shots she had to hold onto the walls to walk properly.”

Brahms and Liszt

While this colorful phrase sounds innocent enough, if someone is “Brahms and Liszt” it means they are devastatingly drunk in British slang. The term refers to a composer’s drunken, off-key singing. For example:

“I had to help Rachel into a taxi at the end of the night – she was completely Brahms and Liszt.”

“Take some paracetamol if you’re feeling Brahms and Liszt this morning after all those beers last night.”


A more old-fashioned British way to say someone is extremely drunk or intoxicated is “sozzled.” It evokes a sense of messiness due to inebriation. For example:

“Jack was so sozzled after the office party I doubt he’ll remember any of it tomorrow.”

“I tripped over my own feet when I tried to get up – that’s how I knew I was absolutely sozzled.”

Idioms and Expressions for Being Drunk in British English

Beyond specific terms, Brits have some colorful and creative idioms for describing drunkenness. Here are a few common phrases and examples:

Off one’s face

If someone is “off their face,” it means they are extremely intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. For example:

“I’ve never seen Sarah so off her face! She’d definitely had too much to drink.”

“He got off his face on tequila shots and made a complete fool of himself on the dancefloor.”

Under the influence

Similar to intoxicated, being “under the influence” is a formal way of saying someone is drunk or affected by alcohol. For example:

“The man was arrested for reckless driving while under the influence of alcohol.”

“She was clearly under the influence when the police questioned her after the party.”

Three sheets to the wind

If someone is described as being “three sheets to the wind,” it means they are very drunk in a reckless, disorderly way. The phrase originally referred to sails flapping loosely in the wind. For example:

“Greg was three sheets to the wind last night – I’ve never seen him so plastered!”

“When Jenny’s three sheets to the wind, you can hardly understand a word she says with all that slurring.”

Bevvied up

To be “bevvied up” in British slang means someone has consumed a lot of beverages (alcoholic drinks) and is very drunk as a result. For example:

“The girls were all bevvied up after a few hours at the nightclub.”

“I could tell Tony had been bevvied up when he started singing loudly and bumping into things.”

Euphemisms for Being Drunk in British English

Brits also have some more polite or subtle ways to imply someone is drunk without saying it directly. These euphemisms can be used humorously, sarcastically, or to avoid offense. Here are some common British English euphemisms for drunkenness:

Tired and emotional

A famous British euphemism for being drunk (often attributed to UK politicians) is being “tired and emotional.” It’s used humorously to gloss over inebriation. For example:

“The minister had clearly had one too many glasses of wine at dinner and was a little tired and emotional during the press briefing.”

“I didn’t want to say your brother was drunk, so I politely told your parents he was feeling tired and emotional when I brought him home last night.”


Rather than saying someone is wasted or plastered, British English speakers may politely say the person is “over-refreshed” from drinking too much. For example:

“The wedding guests were possibly a little over-refreshed by the free open bar in the evening.”

“I think Dad was quite over-refreshed at Christmas this year – he kept telling the same stories and laughing uncontrollably.”

In their cups

To say someone is “in their cups” suggests they are drunk in a harmless, possibly humorous way, while avoiding direct reference to drinking. For example:

“The old men at the pub were certainly in their cups when we stopped by last night.”

“Mom told us to humor Uncle James as he’s ‘in his cups’ most family events – we know that means he’s gotten drunk again.”


As we’ve seen, Brits have a rich range of colorful slang terms, idioms, and euphemisms for describing someone who has had one too many drinks. From basic terms like drunk and tipsy, to creatively descriptive phrases like bladdered, Brahms and Liszt, wellied, and three sheets to the wind, the British English lexicon allows for vivid and often humorous ways to talk about inebriation.

Knowing these expressions will help you better understand drunk talk in British books, TV, movies, and conversations. You’ll also be able to get a sense of just how intoxicated someone is based on whether they’re simply tiddly or utterly bladdered. And if you need to be polite about it, you can use subtle euphemisms like over-refreshed or in their cups.

So next time you encounter or participate in British drinking culture, listen out for these terms to learn even more nuanced ways to say drunk in British English. Cheers!

Key Takeaways and Summary

  • Basic terms for drunk in British English: drunk, tipsy, intoxicated, plastered, wasted
  • Moderate drunkenness: sloshed, tiddly, tippled, squiffy
  • Very drunk slang: bladdered, off one’s trolley, out of it, wellied, Brahms and Liszt, sozzled
  • Idioms and expressions: off one’s face, under the influence, three sheets to the wind, bevvied up
  • Euphemisms: tired and emotional, over-refreshed, in their cups

Brits have a colorful vocabulary for describing varying degrees of drunkenness. Familiarizing yourself with these British English terms and expressions can help you fully understand drinking references and determine exactly how drunk someone is based on the language used.

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