AskDefine | Define drunkenness

Dictionary Definition



1 a temporary state resulting from excessive consumption of alcohol [syn: inebriation, inebriety, intoxication, tipsiness] [ant: soberness]
2 Habitual intoxication; prolonged and excessive intake of alcoholic drinks leading to a breakdown in health and an addiction to alcohol such that abrupt deprivation leads to severe withdrawal symptoms [syn: alcoholism, alcohol addiction, inebriation]
3 the act of drinking alcoholic beverages to excess; "drink was his downfall" [syn: drink, drinking, boozing, crapulence]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. the state of being drunk


Related terms


state of being drunk

Extensive Definition

Drunkenness is the state of being intoxicated by consumption of alcoholic beverages to a degree that mental and physical faculties are noticeably impaired. In medical and legal contexts drunkenness may be referred to as acute alcohol intoxication, one of several forms of intoxication commonly observed. In more informal situations many slang terms are common, such as "buzzed", "tipsy", "shitfaced", or "sloshed". Common symptoms may include slurred speech, impaired balance, poor coordination, flushed face, reddened eyes, reduced inhibition, hiccupping and uncharacteristic behavior. Drunkenness can result in temporary experience of a wide range of emotion, ranging from anger, sadness, and depression to euphoria, lightheartedness and joviality. Additionally, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol may lead to a hangover the next day.


Laws on drunkenness vary between countries. In the United States, for example, it is commonly a minor offense (misdemeanor) for an individual to be so intoxicated in a public place that he or she is unable to care for his or her own safety or the safety of others. This degree of intoxication is considerably higher than the standard for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs ("drunk driving"), which commonly requires intoxication to the degree that mental and physical faculties are impaired. In the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland and Canada, this is legally defined as a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater for operating a motor vehicle. In countries such as Australia and Portugal, the BAC limit is lower at 0.05%. Additionally, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration prohibits pilots from operating aircraft with any BAC greater than 0.04%, or operating an aircraft within 8 hours of consuming an alcoholic beverage.
In the United Kingdom and United States, police have powers to arrest those deemed too intoxicated in a public place for being "drunk and disorderly" or even "drunk and incapable".
There are often many legal restrictions relating to sale and supply of alcohol, and particularly relating to those persons under 18 years of age (19 or 21 in some jurisdictions) or to somebody who is already intoxicated. However in some countries such as Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark, customers can buy alcoholic drinks such as beer, cider or wine from the age of 16 years, although not spirits. Germany, as of January 1st 2008 requires that individuals be 18 years of age or older to consume beer, wine, and spirits.

Religious views

Many religious groups permit the consumption of alcohol but prohibit intoxication. Some prohibit alcohol consumption altogether. In the Qur'an, there is a prohibition on the consumption of grape-based alcoholic beverages, and intoxication is considered as an abomination in the Qur'an and Hadith. Islamic schools of law (Madh'hab) have interpreted this as a strict prohibition of the consumption of all types of alcohol.
Many Protestant Christian denominations prohibit drunkenness due to the Biblical passages condemning it (for instance, Proverbs 23:21, Isa. 28:1, Hab. 2:15) but many allow moderate use of alcohol (see Christianity and alcohol). Proverbs 31:4-7 states a prophecy of King Lemuel,
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.


It has often been said that drunkenness helps people to avoid injury from trauma, or as commonly said, "God watches over drunks and small children". According to a translation of the 4th century B.C. Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi, A drunken man who falls out of a cart, though he may suffer, does not die. His bones are the same as other people's, but he meets his accident in a different way. His spirit is in a condition of security. He is not conscious of riding in the cart; neither is he conscious of falling out of it. Ideas of life, death, fear, etc., cannot penetrate his breast; and so he does not fear from contact with objective existences. And if such security is to be got from wine, how much more is it to got from God? It is in God that the Sage seeks his refuge, and so he is free from harm.

Further reading

  • Regretful Morning - Read, share, and laugh at other peoples drinking stories.
  • Bales, Robert F. Attitudes toward Drinking in the Irish culture. In: Pittman, David J. and Snyder, Charles R. (Eds.) Society, Culture and Drinking Patterns. NY: Wiley, 1962, pp. 157-187.
  • Gentry, Kenneth L., Jr., God Gave Wine: What the Bible Says about Alcohol. Lincoln, Calif.: Oakdown, 2001.
  • "Out of It. A Cultural History of Intoxication" by Stuart Walton. (Penguin Books, 2002) ISBN 0-14-027977-6
  • "Modern Drunkard" magazine - a humorous magazine about drink and the art of getting drunk
  • Famous Drinking Quotes - a collection of quotes about drinking from famous alcohol enthusiasts


drunkenness in Arabic: سكر (حالة)
drunkenness in Danish: Beruset
drunkenness in German: Ethanol#Unmittelbare_physiologische_Wirkung
drunkenness in Spanish: Ebriedad
drunkenness in Esperanto: Ebrio
drunkenness in French: Ivresse
drunkenness in Indonesian: Mabuk
drunkenness in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Ebrietate
drunkenness in Inuktitut: ᐋᒪᐃᔪᖅ/aamaijuq
drunkenness in Italian: Ubriachezza
drunkenness in Hebrew: שכרות
drunkenness in Latin: Ebrietas
drunkenness in Dutch: Dronkenschap
drunkenness in Japanese: 酔い
drunkenness in Norwegian: Rus
drunkenness in Polish: Nietrzeźwość
drunkenness in Portuguese: Embriaguez
drunkenness in Russian: Алкоголизм#.D0.90.D0.BB.D0.BA.D0.BE.D0.B3.D0.BE.D0.BB.D1.8C.D0.BD.D0.BE.D0.B5_.D0.BE.D0.BF.D1.8C.D1.8F.D0.BD.D0.B5.D0.BD.D0.B8.D0.B5
drunkenness in Simple English: Drunkenness
drunkenness in Slovak: Opilosť
drunkenness in Finnish: Humalatila
drunkenness in Swedish: Berusning
drunkenness in Tagalog: Pagkalasing
drunkenness in Yiddish: שיכרות

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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