To Be On The Sauce – To go out for a big boozy night out, or to drink to excess regularly. ‘I feel awful this morning, I was out on the sauce again last night’ – the sauce is the alcohol itself.
This is a great expression and one we use a lot. (Obviously, Kayte and I don’t because we would never, ever get drunk. We just take a little sherry now and again to wet our lips).
The sauce we are on about in our video, however, is HP sauce, a brown sauce made with fruit and spices and we use it a lot on a ‘Full English’ in preference over ketchup. Some love the stuff, and some can’t bear it. Like Dominic, our producer. He thinks it is the spit of the Devil.
This is another brilliant little bit of marketing that made a simple product very famous indeed. Invented in the late 1800s by a grocer from Nottingham, he heard that it was popular in the restaurants in the Houses of Parliament in London, so he called it HP Sauce. There is still a picture of the Houses of Parliament (also known as the Palace of Westminster) on the bottle to this day.
A bacon sandwich with HP sauce will sort out your hangover in double-quick time. Unless you are Dominic.
We seem to have an awful lot of expressions for ‘getting drunk’, and in varying degrees. Some are regional, some are dialectical, some make no logical sense. Here are some of our favourites.
Mildly drunk, early in the evening
‘tipsy’ – your grandmother might say this. When you have had enough to drink that everything softens and your head starts to swirl, just a little.
‘merry’ – Shakespeare liked this one. Merry means happy (as in Merry Christmas), so you have had a couple of drinks and you feel all jolly.
‘squiffy’ – if something is squiffy it has gone a little bit awry, (we might even say it is ‘on the piss’, see below). A picture could be hung badly, or a situation has gone slightly wrong. Therefore if you are squiffy, everything seems a little bit off-centre or out of focus.
A bit later on
‘pissed’, or ‘as pissed as a newt’ – when one is out on a piss-up, one would get pissed. No idea what the poor newt has to do with it, but the expression is used, a lot.
‘drink like a fish’ – if someone can drink like a fish, then can consume a lot, very quickly. We *might* know a couple of people like that. Possibly.
‘to be three sheets to the wind’ – my dad still says this one. A nautical expression, the sheet is actually the rope that connects to the sail. If your sheets are to the wind, they are not cleated down, so are flapping wildly in the wind.
‘to go on the lash’ – to go out on the sauce. Possibly another nautical expression – a naval punishment was to be flogged or lashed, and a sailor’s hangover might feel as if they had been lashed. ‘Lashings of’, however, means ‘lots of’, which might be another explanation. There was a spoof film of the Famous Five Enid Blyton books called ‘Five Go Mad in Dorset‘. They had ‘lashings of ginger beer’ with their picnics, and the phrase was so well-quoted that most people think it is actually from Enid Blyton.
‘trolleyed’ – possibly from the drinks trolley of the 1970s, where one might have drunk the contents of the trolley. I also like to think of it as getting the dodgy supermarket trolley with crappy wheels, which won’t go in a straight line and has a dogged mind of its own
‘legless’ – a very common one. Presumably to get so drunk that your legs don’t work any more.
‘plastered’ – not sure about where this one comes from. The only explanation I can find for this very common expression is that when you plaster a wall it is smooth and clean and empty. When you get plastered, you get a vacant and empty stare or expression on your face.
‘as drunk as a lord’ and ‘as sober as a judge’ – these are a little archaic, but I still like them. The first is pretty self-explanatory, to be as drunk as a member of the English aristocracy who has nothing else to do but drink port and gorge himself. The latter did mean someone who was sober, calm and rational. We now use it by way of an excuse, usually when we are anything but sober. ‘No, no, I am not drunk. Honestly. I am as sober as a judge’ or as ‘jober as a sudge. (hic)’
The ruder ones – Used at pub closing time, when deciding whether to go on for a curry or just a cheeky kebab
These all just mean really, really drunk. Many involve just using names for genitalia (or what one might do with your downstairs parts) as a past-participle.
‘bollocksed’ (the bollocks are slang for a man’s dangly bits)
‘arseholed’ – presumably when you are so drunk you behave like an arsehole.
‘wankered’ (see above)