According to DrinkAware, in 2016, 46% of girls and 43% of boys in the UK between the ages of 11 and 15 years old have tried alcohol. Due to the social acceptance of drinking alcohol in the UK amongst all age groups and nationalities, a huge range of slang terms for alcohol has sprung up and has continued to grow throughout the years.
There are many reasons for this, including friends who drink a lot wanting a “cute pet name” for alcohol, international communities using different names and then spreading them through drinking with locals, or of course people with alcohol addiction problems intentionally trying to mask what they’re talking about.
Slang Names for Alcohol
|Juice is a common but fairly mild slang for alcohol – generally used in light-hearted context.|
|‘Toddy’ is one of the alcohol nicknames that originates from a specific area – the North of England and Scotland. Also linked to ‘hot toddy’, a liquor and honey drink often served warm.|
|Generally used by heavy drinkers to refer to spirits and other strong drinks. “Time to get on the hard stuff”. Is also less commonly used to refer to hard drugs.|
|Originates from the high-proof distilled spirits that were produced illegally in the United States during Prohibition. Commonly used humorously in referral to regular alcohol, but is occasionally still used in regards to illegal or homemade alcohol too.|
|Similar to moonshine, hooch was originally slang for illegal homebrewed alcohol, especially inferior quality whiskey. The term outdates Prohibition but spread rapidly during that time due to all alcohol technically being “hooch”.|
|Commonly used to refer to small quantities of alcohol. However, over time it has also come to be used for regular drinking habits or other vices, perhaps illustrating the connection between casualising or undermining alcohol, and a growing risk of addiction.|
|One of the most well-known and widespread nicknames for alcohol. The term has been discovered in use in England as early as the 14th century and is used today in all corners of the globe. Sometimes refers to heavy drinking but can be used as a term for alcohol in any context.|
|Also known as “Dutch courage”, liquid courage refers to alcohol in terms of its inhibition reducing properties and the fact drinking often gives a sense of enhanced “courage”.|
|Originates from the alcohol content of mouthwash which historically has been consumed by extreme alcoholics in desperate circumstances when no other drinks are available.|
|Originates from the Turkish word “sherbet” which was a fruit juice based non-alcoholic drink. Popularised in Australia and Wales where it was mostly used to refer to lager – “we’re going to the pub for a couple of sherbets”.|
|“Sauce” comes from the United States where it is generally used to refer to alcohol but can also occasionally relate to drugs. “Lost in the sauce” is also used regarding somebody who has a drinking problem or is extremely drunk.|
|Irish term that is arguably one of the darkest street names for alcohol. Used to to refer to alcohol as a “creature” that can bring your dark side out and change your personality if you play with it.|
Slang Names For Being Drunk
Outside of the unusual and sometimes funny names for alcohol used above, there are also a variety of names for somebody who has had enough.
Just a few of these include:
There is certainly much more of a common thread here!
While some slang terms for a drunk person clearly come from the physical nature of alcohol itself (sloshed) or some of the less talked about but extremely common side effects (pissed!), the vast majority are humorous attempts to come up with a new term to explain how extremely drunk this person in particular is.
Other Street/Slang Terms Related to Alcohol
Outside of slang terms for drunk people and alcohol in general, there are countless other unique terms used to discuss things and situations related to alcohol.
Here are just a few:
40 or 40oz
This is a nickname used to describe a large (40 ounce) bottle available to purchase in the United States, generally containing beer or malt liquor.
The term ‘hand grenade’ originates from special pre-packaged and frozen cocktails sold in New Orleans, but has spread and developed to mean any pre-mixed/pre-packaged cocktail.
A beer bong is a funnel attached to a tube, which is then attached to a beer keg at the other end to facilitate rapid alcohol consumption, most commonly used in college parties. The name is a reference to ‘bongs’, a pipe generally used to smoke cannabis – a beer bong being the equivalent for drinking.
‘Pregame’ as a term originates in the US, and ‘pre-drink’ is more commonly used in the UK. In both locations the term seems to have spread from college/university. Both terms refer to the act of drinking large quantities of alcohol before going out to a club or bar in order to avoid the prices associated with such places and get drunker for cheaper.
Hair of the dog
Refers to combating hangover symptoms by drinking again the following morning. The term originates from the saying “hair of the dog that bit you” which refers to an old-fashioned belief that the only cure for rabies was the consumption of a potion containing the hair of the dog involved.
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