The word sheet is used in the nautical sense. A sheet to a sailor is a rope used for controlling the sails. If a sheet is left to flutter in the wind, the sail it controls will flap and the boat will lose way. With three sheets to the wind the boat will lose way and be uncontrollable, much like someone who is drunk.
Good Grief, I almost made a major faux pas because I didn't know the meaning of "three sheets to the wind". I recently found a charming picture of a sailboat with the inscription "Three Sheets to the Wind". I almost bought it for one of my colleagues with the last name of "Sheets". She probably would have thought that I considered her a "drunk"!!!! I was so sure that arnie was wrong with his definition that I went to word detective, which confirmed for me that arnie was right!
I'm glad the Word Detective got it right. I was interested to learn that:
quote:The specific number of "three sheets" in the phrase wasn't random, by the way -- there was, at one time, a sort of rating system of inebriation among sailors, where "one sheet" meant "tipsy" and so on, up to "four sheets in the wind," meaning to be completely unconscious.
I'd never known that, but it makes sense (something that doesn't often happen with words).
The Callahan's Pub tales I've been reading, as mentioned elsewhere, taught me a new drinking word. One of the characters is a cluricaune, akin to a leprechaun. At his first appearance the bartender speaks:
quote:"I'm sorry to say he's not a leprechaun. It's much worse than that. He's a cluricaune. Leprechauns make shoes."
Brief silence. "What do cluricaunes do?" Doc Webster asked. "Drink." He paled. "Oh, shit." "Hip-deep," I agreed. "A cluricaune," Long-Drink said darkly, "is a walking thirst."
"He's the finish of this place," I told them all. "Unlike many of the Little Folk, a cluricaune will attach himself to a specific place, rather than to a family or clan. And what he does to that place is to drink it dry as an Iranian cabinet meeting -- no matter what God or man may do or try to do to stop him. A cluricaune can suck booze through a stone jug. He can smell sauce in a cesspool. He'll eat fuming Drano if you pour in a few drops of vinegar. I bet you not one purse in this room has any nail polish remover left in it right now."
The cluricaune began to snore--loudly, and fairly disgustingly. He was not a pretty drunk.
"The cluricaune is here," I said. "Our booze is not."
I am forced to conclude that there are as many euphemisms for getting drunk as there are for matters of a sexual nature - and maybe for the same reasons. Most people do it but don't like to admit it too boldly!
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UK
ATTENTION......... Public Service Announcement: Please READ and BEWARE
Police are warning all men who frequent clubs, partygoers and unsuspecting pub regulars to be alert and stay cautious when offered a drink from any woman. A date rape drug on the market called "beer" is used by many females to target unsuspecting men.
The drug in liquid form is now available almost anywhere. It comes in bottles, cans, from taps and in large "kegs." "Beer" is used by female sexual predators at parties and bars. Typically, a woman needs only to persuade a guy to consume a few units of "beer" and then simply ask him home for no strings attached sex. Men are rendered helpless against this approach.
After several "beers" men will often succumb to desires to perform sexual acts on horrific looking women to whom they would never normally be attracted. After drinking "beer" men often awaken with only hazy memories of exactly what happened to them the night before, often with just a vague feeling that something bad occurred.
At other times these unfortunate men are swindled out of their life's savings in a familiar scam known as "a relationship." It has been reported that in extreme cases, the female may even entrap the unsuspecting male into a longer term form of servitude and punishment referred to as "marriage." Apparently, men are much more susceptible to this scam after "beer" is administered and sex is offered by the predatory female.
Please! Forward this warning to every male you know. Thank you for your attention.....