Friday, 16 March 2012

Alcoholic Euphemisms

This post is so popular that I've added the entire list from my mini ebook:
Boo and Hooray: Dysphemisms and Euphemisms
which is packed with euphemisms about politics, race, class, money and tourists.

I’m a social drinker, you’re a heavy drinker, she’s a problem drinker – we don’t know any alcoholics.
a bit mad: alcoholic
addled (drug-addled): addicted

antics: heavy drinking

après ski: heavy drinking
bad boy of the theatre: heavy drinker
bad boy (football’s bad boy): heavy drinker

battled alcoholism: was an alcoholic
big night, big weekend: drinking a lot
binge drinking: drinking

bon vivant: drunk
bon viveur: drunk
boon companions: drinking buddies, enablers

carnage: lots of people getting drunk
celebrate: get drunk
chaotic home life: alcoholic parents

clean-living: doesn’t drink very much
colourful: drinks heavily
colourful escapades: drinking

complicated man: alcoholic man

dark side: drinks heavily
darkness: heavy drinking
dark years: when I was an alcoholic

dealing: dealing in drugs
demons: drinking heavily

detox: give up alcohol (and probably sweets, biscuits, cake and smoking)

difficult and dark character: alcoholic

disorganised household: heavy drinking father beats mother

drink: alcoholic drink

drinking: drinking alcohol, or drinking alcohol in excess

drink-related problems: drunk most of the time, drunk and abusive a lot of the time

dysfunctional: drinks
dysfunctional family: the parents drink

emotional immaturity: heavy drinking
epic lunch: drunken lunch
excess: drinking to excess

exercise poor judgement, make bad choices: American for “go off the rails”, i.e. drink, take drugs, get pregnant at 14

fast-living: drinking a lot
fast-paced lifestyle: drinking a lot

flamboyant, mercurial, malcontent, rebel, demons, self-destructive: drink, drugs

functional alcoholic: drunk at work, drunk all the time
good lunch: boozy lunch

habit: drug habit
had a lot of personal demons: was a drunk

hard-living: drinking a lot
hard to work with after lunch: starts drinking at lunchtime, doesn’t stop

healthy lifestyle: give up drink and drugs

heavy night: drinking a lot
heavy partying: taking drugs

hedonism: drugs (or drink, drugs, adultery, casual sex, no commitment)

hell-raiser: drunk
hell-raising: drinking a lot

hidden alcoholics: middle-class alcoholics

high jinks: drink and drugs
his dark side: he drinks a lot

his own personal demons: drink, drugs

I had problems with my head: drink, drugs

I’m more grounded now: I drink less/have given up drugs now I have a wife and kids.

imbibe: drink alcohol

in a dark place: drinking too much, addicted to drugs, suffering an eating disorder

infamous party animal: drink, drugs, violence to women

intemperance: drinking too much

Keep him on the straight and narrow: Stop him drinking. (Or “curb his drinking”. PS: You can’t. Only he can do that.)

larger-than-life character: drunk, bully, adulterer (or terrifying old bat)

life and soul of the party: drunk
life in the fast lane: taking drugs

life is for living: drinking, fornicating
lifestyle problems: drink and drugs

live dangerously: drink heavily (and probably sleep around)

live hard: drink heavily
live life to the full: drink heavily

living young and wild and free: smoking and drinking (song by Talib Kweli)

loose cannon: drunk
Loosen up, live a little!: Have an alcoholic drink

lose your way: drink heavily, take drugs
louche: drinks a lot

lovable rogue: drunk, crook
lunched too well: drunk

man of large appetites: drunk, womaniser

moderate drinker: heavy drinker (apparently “moderate drinkers” drink 40% more than they think they do)

ne’er-do-well: heavy drinker
nightlife: heavy drinking

off the rails: drinking, experimenting with drugs and sex

party (v): drink or take drugs
party animal: drunk
party girl: female heavy drinker
party hard: drink and take drugs

potations: alcohol
potent: very alcoholic

prodigious alcoholic intake: brain shrinkage, endless recycling of anecdotes, cirrhosis of the liver, delirium tremens, spousal abuse, bullying of children

rebel (n): heavy drinker
rehab: drying out, cure

revellers: drunk people
revelry: heavy drinking

riotous horseplay: violence, cruel practical jokes, obnoxious drunken “antics” that pass into folklore

rip-roaring: drunk people
rock’n’roll lifestyle: alcoholism and drug addiction
roisterer: alcoholic

self-destructive: heavy drinker
self-medicate: drink heavily

settle down: dry out, drink less
simpler life: give up drugs

social drinker: binge drinker

stimulants: spirits (Victorian)
strong waters: spirits (Victorian)

substance abuse: illegal substance abuse
substance-using: drug-taking

temperance: drinking moderately, or not at all
tempestuous period: married to an alcoholic

terrific character: drunk
the demon drink: ethanol (CH3CH2OH)

tipple: alcohol (Use when you want to imply that dangerously heavy drinking is just a bit of fun – especially if there’s an elderly lady in the frame. And you can stop making fun of elderly ladies, too. OK?)

tired: Mrs Thatcher’s aides watched out for when she became “tired” (had a few too many whiskies). According to fellow-actor Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe had to have somebody with her to see she didn’t get “tired” (hit the bottle).

troubled families: the parents drink

troubled: drug user, drinks too much (in other contexts, mad, difficult, criminal)

unpredictable behaviour: due to alcohol abuse

use drugs: abuse drugs, take illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs

vices: alcohol (Victorian)

wild: “I am less wild than I used to be” means “I drink less.”

wild child: young drinker

wild living (had tarnished both her looks and voice): drink and drugs

wild man of rock: drunk
wild partying lifestyle: drinking heavily
wild years: when I drank a lot

work hard/play hard: work hard, then go out and get drunk and do silly things you can talk about the next day (as well as your hangover)

wrestling with demons: trying to give up drinking, or maybe just drinking a lot

zest for life: heavy drinker

Here's a version of the Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book".

Should you drink in front of your kids?

Journalists don't help here.

Tips on drinking less here.

More on the Demon Drink here.

And more here.