German Advent Calendar 10 – Talking about your degree

Talking about your degree

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Hallo ihr lieben,

and welcome back to our Epic Advent calendar, day number 10.
And Christmas season is not only the time for family, presents, introspection, relaxation and WAY too much food.
It’s also the time to get a little tipsy on Glühwein. Or shitfaced on Gin after that heated discussion at Christmas dinner.
And so today, we’ll do a little round up of

German words for being drunk

We’ll do it “order of appearance”, so we’ll start with being a little bit tipsy. And the German word for that is

beschwipst

Sounds a bit like a little hiccup after a glass of liqueur. And also a bit like bewitched actually.
It’s a really cute word, in my opinion and just like tipsy, it captures the “spirit” of that stage pretty nicely. You know, you’re still in full control of everything but your mood is a little elevated.

At the core of it is the noun der Schwips which is something like a very slight buzz. Originally, the noun described the swaying walk you have when you’re drunk, but over time, it shifted toward more the beginning stages.

  • Ich bin ein bisschen beschwipst.
  • I’m a little tipsy.
  • Ich habe einen Schwips.
  • I’m a little tipsy.

It’s not too common, and it’s more fitting for elegant drinking. Like … think of a bunch of ladies having mimosas or a cocktail.
For beer, the next one is the better choice.

angetrunken

One of the ideas that the prefix an expresses is the idea of beginning and that’s what it does here… you’re at the starting stage of drunk. It’s a little stronger than beschwipst in my opinion, but that’s probably subjective.

  • Maria war angetrunken.
  • Maria was a little drunk.

Now, technically, angetrunken is the ge-form of the verb antrinken, but there’s a noteworthy difference. Because here, the an- expresses the notion of toward.

  • Thomas trinkt sich vor dem Date Mut an.
  • Thomas gives himself liquid courage before the date.

Thomas drinks courage “to himself”. Didn’t work well for him though, probably because he wanted a little too much courage, and ended up in the next stage.

betrunken

And this is the main German word for actually being drunk.

  • “Na, wie war dein Date?”
    “Frag nicht. Der Typ war total betrunken.”
  • “So, how was your date?”
    “Don’t ask. The guy was totally drunk.”

And of course we also need to mention the verb betrunken is based on… betrinken. Or we should say, sich betrinken, because it’s always with a self reference. And that’s the German word for to get drunk… you “inflict drinking” on yourself.

  • “Ein kleines Bier?!”
    “Ja, ich will mich heute nicht betrinken.”
  • “A small beer?!”
    “Yeah, I don’t want to get drunk today.”

Cool.
Now, betrunken is definitely the most common word, but of course German does have a few synonyms for it. Though they’re not actually not as “powerful” sounding as the English hammered, wasted or shitfaced.

Some Synonyms

The first one besoffen which comes from the verb saufen. This verb belongs to the same family as soup, but it shifted toward being the word to drink for animals. And I think it’s not hard to make the transition from there – it’s also a colloquial, rough option for drinking lots of alcohol and besoffen and sich besaufen are basically rough versions of betrunken and sich betrinken.

  • Maria geht mit ihren Fußballkumpels saufen.
  • Maria goes (heavy) drinking with her soccer buddies.
  • Puh, ich war gestern total besoffen.
  • Phew, I was hammered yesterday.

Then, there are also the adjectives hacke and dicht and their fusion.

  • Thomas ist von zwei Bier schon hacke/dicht/hackedicht.
  • Thomas is wasted after two beers already.

And last but not least, let’s give a shout out to betütert, which I would call the “metrosexual” option. So it doesn’t sound “manly” enough for the “old school” masculine male type but it’s pretty common in Berlin and it’s definitely fun. Like… think of drinking prosseco on ice and mint liquor at a vernissage… that type of drunk. You’re drunk, but you’re fun, positive drunk. Not agro monkey drunk.

And that’s it for today.
And I know that some of you are now like  “Emanuel, what about blau?”
Which is a valid question because blau is also a REALLY common option for drunk.
But that’ll get its own door in this calendar. Because this post is already long enough and the story behind the drunk-blau… damn, that is CRAZY!!! Like… legit crazy.

So yeah, let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if you’ve come across any other German drunk words.
Have a great day, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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Barratt
Barratt
3 months ago

My personal favorite is “tanken”. :-)

janguv
janguv
7 months ago

There’s an English one that’s probably not very good to recommend, and it is obviously gendered in some respect, but…

“off my tits” = really drunk or even high on a cocktail of substances

It signals the idea of being out of control. It can be used by both guys and girls, and is probably used more by guys – for whatever that’s worth.

Desdra
Desdra
7 months ago

I’ve often heard “three sheets to the wind” as seriously drunk. It must be some sort of sailing metaphor but I know nothing about sailing.

Pia
Pia
8 months ago

Just catching up on my advent calendars. I am surprised no one has mentioned pissed which means drunk. I am not sure if it is only an Australian term for drunk if you want to act cool and swear? For example: To get pissed or Thomas is a piss-head (Thomas drinks a lot).

Starbuck
Starbuck
8 months ago
Reply to  Pia

Deffo not only Australian. Brits used it too. I would say pissed is regular drunk, not as extreme as wasted. What would you say?

schluss
schluss
7 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

“pissed” to mean angry, is relatively new import from the USA. As an Aussie of a certain age, I still need the “off/with” (or USA “at”?) to clarify anger is intended. “My boss is pissed” vs “My boss is pissed off”

Starbuck
Starbuck
7 months ago
Reply to  schluss

Yep this. In the UK, we would say “pissed off” for angry, but are aware of the US meaning so would usually figure it out if someone used it that way. I think it confuses USians when they first go to a British or Aussie pub though ^^

Examples:

“I’m pissed off” – I’m angry
“Thomas pissed Maria off” – Thomas did/said something which annoyed Maria
“Thomas is pissed off with Maria” – Thomas is annoyed because of something Maria did/said

janguv
janguv
7 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Yes, it would. But you would probably phrase it:

“Thomas and Maria are pissed”
(or past tense: got/were [so] pissed)

E.g. “We got so pissed last night, I don’t know how I made it home.”

(all British vernacular here, but I presume it carries over well to Australian too, just not US)

Joanne
Joanne
8 months ago

I’d like to volunteer “wankered” and “wrecked” as additions to the hardcore intoxication vocabulary.

Starbuck
Starbuck
8 months ago
Reply to  Joanne

Wankered is a great one!

Francesca Hedges
Francesca Hedges
8 months ago

I haven’t come across the term ‘liquid courage’ but ‘Dutch courage’ is a very common expression. I am not sure about the origin of the reference to people who come from Holland, though

Starbuck
Starbuck
8 months ago

I’ve heard liquid courage before but I assume it was people wanting to make Dutch courage more PC

Yuuu
Yuuu
8 months ago

“Agro monkey”hahaha

Jayne D Kulikauskas
Jayne D Kulikauskas
8 months ago

Among the sort of Catholics who tend to quote St. Thomas Aquinas (this is a small subset) it is not unusual to hear them speak of “drinking to the point of hilarity” in reference him writing “Drink to the point of hilarity and no more.”

While I am not an expert of St. Thomas or drinking, I think this corresponds to the “merry” stage mentioned elsewhere in the comments.

Philip McEachern
Philip McEachern
8 months ago

I have heard “blau” used in this context. Is this correct? If so, where does it fall (so to speak) on your list?

stee pedro stee
stee pedro stee
8 months ago

this is a topic my bourbon-infused lips can embrace. interesting how dwds doesn’t bother to give etymology for hackedicht or sternhagelvoll – zu salopp i reckon.
and a big thank-you goes out to deutschland for allowing us back into the hauptstadt on mittwoch – wir machen unsern Deutschunterricht weiter so, versprochen..

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago

Hello,

One more typo-free day (or at least I can’t find any coz I was at a b’day party yesterday and got a litle beschwipst – true story, not just to tie in with the alco… I mean, article).
There’s a stage in English before tipsy and that’s merry (although that may be subjective). I suppose that would still be beschwipst in German, oder?

And another English word for the had-core version is plastered (equivalent to hammered, wasted and shit-faced), but I think it’s strictly BE, although I’m not sure…

Bis morgen!

mokcyn
mokcyn
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

No, merry does not always reference being tipsy. I grew up with plastered and wasted. Plastered was only for alcohol but wasted could be for anything that alters ones perceptions. Hammered is more recent but I like that one the most.

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

As mockyn pointed, merry is a general word for being happy, in a good mood… it’s only understood as slightly under the influence when used in the right context :)

syperk
syperk
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Yeah, I’d agree that “merry” meaning drunk is fairly situational, though it’s other uses are pretty archaic. Another great (British) English word for this early stage is “squiffy”. That’s fairly unambiguous, but probably not one most men would reach for…

Starbuck
Starbuck
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

You can also use these for being very drunk:

“rat-arsed”
“blind drunk” (probably not very politically correct though, so maybe avoid that one)
“3 sheets to the wind” (i think it’s an old naval reference, as many phrases are in English)

And for beschwipst you can also say “happy” contextually.

But honestly in the right context, *a lot* of words will do the trick.

In the sentence, “I was absolutely ________ last night.” you can fill in the gap with almost any funny-sounding noun-turned-into-an-ed-word (<– fancy grammar term) and people will assume you mean you were drunk, e.g.

"absolutely pine-coned"
"absolutely clothes-horsed"
"absolutely ear-holed"
"absolutely bulldozered"
Etc etc etc.

None of these are real phrases I just made them up. But an English person would figure out what you meant.

Starbuck
Starbuck
7 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Haha! ^^

Elizabeth K Hilprecht
Elizabeth K Hilprecht
8 months ago

Es war sehr interessant, weil Ich nur das Wort “betrunken” gewußt habe.

amerikanskan
amerikanskan
8 months ago

Doesn’t “blau” mean that one is hungover?

pmccann
pmccann
8 months ago

Words for drunk… hmm, good question. Does “breit” still work for “drunk”?

One expression that I quite like the associated imagery of, but not so much the state it describes, is “eine Fahne haben”, which I take it means that you’re *obviously* drunk (you absolutely *reek* of booze, you might as well wave a flag!).

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
8 months ago
Reply to  pmccann

Check out this song and you won’t forget that meaning of “breit” ever again. It’s not my normal taste in music, but someone talked me into listening to it and I liked the lyrics.

pmccann
pmccann
8 months ago
Reply to  coleussanctus

Ahem… yeah, not really meine Tasse Tee either! “Breit so wie die Ärsche von den Weibern auf”. Sorry, I’m a bit slow on the uptake, and it’s a bit embarrassing to ask, but “breit” is doing double duty here, right? “Wide” as well as “drunk”?

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
8 months ago
Reply to  pmccann

Yeah, just a bit of cheeky wordplay.

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ah ok. So they really know how to do it up right I totally misunderstood the word.

Would you say “geladen” implies alcohol or drugs, or maybe both? In English, I tend to think of “loaded” as being drunk, but really it can include other substances too.

syperk
syperk
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

British English especially has lots of great words and phrases to mean drunk. The flag example above reminded me of one of the more verbose ones: “to be four sheets to the wind”, which I believe is a sailing reference to sails flapping in the wind because their ropes (sheets) aren’t tied down. Are there any good German idiomatic phrases like this one?

Starbuck
Starbuck
8 months ago
Reply to  syperk

Lol I just posted about that one too but I am pretty sure it’s 3 sheets rather than 4.

syperk
syperk
8 months ago
Reply to  Starbuck

The internet seems to agree with you, though I see references to every number from one to ten!

Starbuck
Starbuck
8 months ago
Reply to  syperk

Ha! Indeed! Native speaker privilege – use whatever number you want haha!

Starbuck
Starbuck
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Like stoned in English. Older people (like 70+) might understand it to mean drunk because it did used to be used for that, but nowadays it’s pretty much exclusively used to describe the effect of smoking weed and not really any other drugs.

Whereas “high” could refer to a range of substances (although still probably not alcohol)

“Wasted” is a catch-all for both drugs and alcohol, but implies a much stronger effect, whereas “high” could be much milder.

Ana
Ana
8 months ago

Thanks! You’ve just given so much nuance to my next Oktoberfest (and also quite an accurate chronological description from beschwipst ’til hackedicht)!

Starbuck
Starbuck
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

“verkatert” was one of the first words I learnt when I started going out socialising in Austria ^^