Intoxication Lexicography
November 2, 2008 4:49 PM   Subscribe

What adjective is to "wanting to get intoxicated" as "horny" is to "wanting sex?"

After many moons of (purely scholarly) field research, I've never come across a one-word adjectival slang description for the state of wanting to get high. There's (wanting to get...) ...high, ...loaded, ...drunk, ...wasted, ...buzzed, ...baked, ...stewed, ...toasted, ...ripped, ...lushed, on & on & on. There's also (wanting to get...) ...laid, & other terms, but many people in that condition would probably just simply describe themselves as "horny."

For a topic as filled with slang as drug & alcohol use, it seems odd there's no simple adjective to describe having the urge to indulge. The nearest I can think of is "jonesing," but that seems both a little specific (to opiate addiction) & a little widespread (like "I'm jonesin' for a Big Mac.")

posted by Forrest Greene to Writing & Language (47 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:51 PM on November 2, 2008 [4 favorites]

In Dublin, "I'm gaspin'".
posted by jamesonandwater at 4:53 PM on November 2, 2008 [5 favorites]

One of my tobacco-enhanced cow-orkers uses the term "fiending" when she needs a smoke.
posted by OneOliveShort at 4:56 PM on November 2, 2008

posted by netbros at 4:57 PM on November 2, 2008 [5 favorites]

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:00 PM on November 2, 2008


5: marked by the absence of alcoholic beverages
posted by lee at 5:08 PM on November 2, 2008

I came here to say jonesing.
posted by bondcliff at 5:26 PM on November 2, 2008

"Hanging". As in 'I'm really hanging for a beer'. In a way, it's more of a loan word from the intravenous drug culture, but it wouldn't be too amiss in respect of alcohol. Or alternatively, 'gagging'. Or 'parched'.
posted by tim_in_oz at 5:27 PM on November 2, 2008

Best answer: No need to go to Urban Dictionary for a definition of jonesing. It's in the OED:

U.S. slang

Also with lower-case initial.

1. intr. To experience the symptoms of withdrawal from heroin; (later also) to feel a physical craving for any addictive substance. Also with down. Usu. in pres. pple.<><><><>1971<><> <><>Kennebec (Maine) Jrnl.<><> 28 Oct. 33/5 <>How many stayed off drugs after ‘Jonesing down’ at an Army amnesty center?<><> <><>1986<> <>Washington Post<> 14 May (Health section) 14/3 <>When the cocaine supply ran out, he and people with him began ‘Jonesing’.<><> <><>1994<> <><>J. FAVREAU<><> <>Swingers<> (film script, 3rd draft) 47 <>Gimme my reds [i.e. Marlboro cigarettes]. I've been jonesing for an hour.<><> <><>2004<> <><>L. MISCIONE<><> <>Twice<> 59 <>‘Can you help an old man out?’ asked Charlie, looking like he was jonesing a bit, his foot tapping, his mouth moving as if he were chewing an invisible piece of gum.<><>

2. intr. In extended use. To feel an intense craving or desire for something. Freq. with for. Usu. in pres. pple.<>

<>1989<> <><>P. MUNRO<><> <>U.C.L.A. Slang<> 53 <>She's jonesing for those diamond earrings.<><> <><>1994<> <>Hypno<> 3 <>III.<> 66/3 <>We're not just mentally prepared, we're totally jonesing to see the murders acted out!<><> <><>2002<> <>Elle<> Mar. 256/2 <>If you're still jonesing for more adrenaline, you can brave the white-water rapids or rappel every mountain in sight.
posted by grouse at 5:28 PM on November 2, 2008

I shouldn't have relied on live preview.
posted by grouse at 5:28 PM on November 2, 2008 [7 favorites]

Proper contextual application of "thirsty" is how I usually express the sentiment, which I do frequently.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 5:42 PM on November 2, 2008

I second (or third) "jonesing."
posted by ouchitburns at 5:50 PM on November 2, 2008

I think "slakish" could work.
posted by billtron at 5:50 PM on November 2, 2008

I could only think of thirsty, but I'm not a drinker and thus have never used the word to describe myself in that context. Parched works better, and is more specific to booze.

I've only associated "jonesing" with food, and that's just what I see on TV, so it's not necessarily a regional limitation. I guess it could be applied to drugs and alcohol, but only in a generic sense. "Dry" seems a bit old-fashioned.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 6:10 PM on November 2, 2008

Definitely "dry".

from the song Moonshiner (trad.):
"I'll eat when I'm hungry, drink when I'm dry."
posted by notsnot at 6:12 PM on November 2, 2008

Best answer: If you need to say "I'm jonesing for a drink", it's no better than "I need a drink".

You don't have to say "I'm horny for sex." The "sex" is in the adjective already, and I don't think there's a corresponding one for alcohol.
posted by smackfu at 6:26 PM on November 2, 2008

Another for "dry".
posted by kaseijin at 6:42 PM on November 2, 2008

I think 'craving' carries with it certain drug connotations... but maybe it's also too widespread.
posted by cranberrymonger at 7:00 PM on November 2, 2008

A forlorn look and the words, "Aw, man."
posted by nihraguk at 7:05 PM on November 2, 2008

I've always understood "jonesing" to specifically mean a physical withdrawl craving for heroin/opiates, or occasionally other addictive substances. It would be incorrect to use it to refer to, say, wanting to smoke a joint. It's also kind of archaic. "Fiending" or "the fiends" is one we used to say around here (Texas), but I haven't heard it in a while. It also has an addictive-specific connotation (I'm pretty sure it came from "crack fiend"), but it seems less incorrect than "jonesing" if you were to say e.g. "I'm fiending for a bonghit".
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:12 PM on November 2, 2008

nthing "jonesing" or "fiending".

if this happens often, you might consider "addicted."
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:16 PM on November 2, 2008

Now that I think of it, my old band even had a song called "The Fiends" about the unpredictability of scoring drugs, i.e. one day you'd be scraping bong resin and the next you score 5 hits of home-delivered X. The guy that wrote it was a heroin addict, though.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:21 PM on November 2, 2008

Throws in yet another for 'dry'.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 7:48 PM on November 2, 2008

I've said I was really "pining" for a drink. I must have heard it somewhere.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:51 PM on November 2, 2008

Vote for "Thirsty". There are very few times in my world where that could be confused with "Dehydrated".

I always associated "Jonesing" with more restricted drugs and addiction. Though this was probably gleaned from old Quincy and Dragnet episodes where they attempt to be "hip" about drug culture.
posted by Ookseer at 7:52 PM on November 2, 2008

Dry. Decidedly dry, as in how I prefer my Martinis.
posted by mollweide at 8:14 PM on November 2, 2008

posted by bonobothegreat at 8:28 PM on November 2, 2008

posted by schyler523 at 8:41 PM on November 2, 2008

Powerful dry. (said with a southern accent)
posted by bink at 8:57 PM on November 2, 2008

In Australia, you may here people say they are "fangin'" ("fanging").

"I'm fangin' for a brew!"
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:16 PM on November 2, 2008

*sigh* "Hear".
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:16 PM on November 2, 2008

Best answer: I agree with smackfu: jonesing doesn't work because you have to specify what you're jonesing for.

"I'm ready to tie one on."
posted by salvia at 9:30 PM on November 2, 2008

I have heard (and said) Jonesing and Fiending more than anything else. Fiending usually reserved for a cigarette, but have heard addicts of harder drugs refer to their cravings as fiending, when I actually knew people addicted to harder drugs.
posted by piedmont at 9:40 PM on November 2, 2008

"thirsty". But, contextually modified with either an indirect reference to or historical record of hard drink.
posted by Netzapper at 9:41 PM on November 2, 2008

Fired up. Ready to go.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 10:25 PM on November 2, 2008

thirsty. especially on Thursday. Otherwise, it's parched.
posted by mezamashii at 10:50 PM on November 2, 2008

Going with "Dry" here.

Dry means sober or lacking alcohol. A person without alcohol is dry, a county without alcohol is dry, etc. The opposite of dry is, of course, wet.

You can't tell me you haven't every watched a Looney Tune cartoon where the characters get drunk and then proceed to sing "Nobody knows how dry I am". (The song is called "The Near Future" and it was written by Irving Berlin.)

In fact, that song in itself is a age-old cue (especially in animation) that drinking is going to happen or has happened. It's the national anthem of drunkards.

Dry County (wikipedia)
B-52s' Dry County (youtube) Because any mention of the B-52's in a contextual fashion automatically wins arguments.
The Near Future (wikipedia, includes lyrics)
posted by aristan at 11:30 PM on November 2, 2008

In Australia you can say you're farting dust.
posted by fonetik at 11:44 PM on November 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm with smackfu here - all of the words that have been suggested here require context and/or other modifiers to make them unambiguously about booze. "I'm horny" requires no other context. It doesn't seem like there is an equivalent word.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 1:16 AM on November 3, 2008

The UK/Ireland use of gasping probably comes closest.
posted by the latin mouse at 3:37 AM on November 3, 2008

Yet gasping is often used for cigarettes too - 'I'm gaspin' for a fag'.
posted by einekleine at 3:48 AM on November 3, 2008

"I'm gasping!" is the direct equivalent in my neck of the woods in the UK. It is possible to modify it "gasping for a ciggie/cup of tea/chips", but unmodified it almost always refers to an alcoholic beverage.

"Gagging" can refer to sex or alcohol or both, though "gagging for it" is universally for sex.

"I'm parched" and "I'm thirsty" can refer to alcohol in context, but usually refer to a desire for a cup of tea.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:20 AM on November 3, 2008

Billtron said "slakish" above, but I reckon that "unslaked" is far more accurate and appropriate.

There is a common phrase "to slake your thirst" by having a big (usually cold) drink, and therefore prior to a desperately-needed drink your thirst would be "unslaked"... and everyone will know what you mean. QED.
posted by Chunder at 5:46 AM on November 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

More Dublin-ese: "I have a goo"/ "I have the goo". A quick google reveals a few online examples, though not many. Although you can say "I have a goo for a cigarette", plain old "I have the goo" means "Let's find alcohol". You can also get more specific and say "I have a bit of a goo for beer on me tonight" or "I have a goo for wine this evening". Maybe it's a corruption of "goût". Paging languagehat!

Oddly, though, when you have a goo at something, it means "I had a good look": e.g. "the boys all wanted to have a goo at us in our bikinis". It carries the suggestion that you were staring or peering, perhaps somewhat rudely.
posted by tiny crocodile at 8:13 AM on November 3, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions. "Jonesin' " is clearly a popular favorite, despite being a pres. pple., not an adj., a state which plagues several of the other contributions.

"Slakish," "dry," "parched," just plain "thirsty," or maybe "powerful thirsty" are good for beverages. "Unslaked" would be more correct, but slakish sounds more slangish. "Fiending" is another pres. pple. that I've heard before, especially in connection to tobacco.

But for the condition of "wanting to indulge in illegal / recreational drugs," an area of endeavor otherwise filled with slang, there really does seem to be no simple slang adjective. Just quickly thinking about it, there doesn't seem to be an slang adjective for the condition of wanting to gamble, either.

How odd.
posted by Forrest Greene at 11:16 PM on November 3, 2008


posted by billtron at 8:47 AM on November 4, 2008


If all be true that I do think,
There are five reasons we should drink:
Good wine, a friend, or being dry,
Or lest we should be by and by,
Or any other reason why.

posted by Pallas Athena at 5:11 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

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