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

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.