Ben Franklin’s Drunken Way with Words

Haunted with Evil Spirits

I came across a curious bit of info yesterday when I was doing some research on distilling whiskey. Ben Franklin wrote “The Drinkers Dictionary” listing very creative examples of the way people describe the state of drunkenness. 

Here’s a sampling:
He’s casting up his accounts
Drunk as a Wheel-Barrow (???)
He sees the bears
Cock Eyed
Been to France
His Flag is Out
Got on his little hat
Smelt of an onion
Stiff, stewed, soaked, soft
Tipsey, thawed, trammeled
He’s very weary

Some words haven’t changed at all; some expressions need to be revived. Click here for the full listing and you can find your own personal favorites.   Scroll down to The Drinker’s Dictionary.


  1. mitch on December 11, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Uh oh, I’m in me cups, and I hope all the insurance policies are up to date.

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