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drunk as a lord

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Also, drunk as a fiddler or skunk; falling-down or roaring drunk. Extremely intoxicated, as in He came home drunk as a lord. The three similes have survived numerous others. The first was considered proverbial by the mid-1600s and presumably alludes to the fact that noblemen drank more than commoners (because they could afford to). The fiddler alludes to the practice of plying musicians with alcohol (sometimes instead of pay), whereas skunk, dating from the early 1900s, was undoubtedly chosen for the rhyme. The most graphic variant alludes to someone too drunk to keep his or her balance, as in He couldn't make it up the stairs; be was falling-down drunk. And roaring drunk, alluding to being extremely noisy as well as intoxicated, was first recorded in 1697. Also see dead drunk.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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