Our tips on how to say you're tipsy

Prime minister Manuel Valls recently revealed on a Canal+ show that it was a long time since he had drunk himself stupid s’etait bourré la gueule. For the French, stuffing your face or getting cooked (aller prendre une cuite) is a reference to booze, not food.

Se péter la gueule (smashing up your face) means ‘smashed’ and you may also hear Se beurrer la gueule (buttering your face) for getting plastered or se prendre une culotte for the modern-day slang ‘trousered’.

Much more easily understood is boire un coup de trop (drink a drop too much) and the aftermath is having mal aux cheveux (pain in the hair) a hangover.

There are so many different expressions to describe different stages of drunkenness in French: [être] éméché, saoul, soûl, enivré, ivre, beurré, bitteré, completement pété, bourré or [avoir une bonne] cuite.  

Whether you are imbibé (sloshed) or imprégné (full) you will probably also be – or well on the way to becoming – noir comme une pelle à feu (black as a coal shovel) or dead drunk.

Etre pompette is for drinking lightweights and means to be tiddly while rond comme une queue de pelle means you have had a skinful.

Other expressions you may hear used after celebrations:

  • Plein comme une barrique  [full as a barrel] bladdered.            
  • Prendre une serpillière  [take a cloth] wiped out
  • S’arracher la face [tear your face off] out of your face
  • S’éclater la tronche – literally to smash your face up and very S’arracher la face
  • Se mettre la tête à l’envers – [to get back to front] out of your head
  • Se prendre une timbale [to take a tumbler] have a glass or, more likely, several
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