adjective Slang.

drunk; intoxicated.

Origin of soused

1540–50, in sense “pickled”; 1605–15 for current sense; souse1 + -ed2
Related formsun·soused, adjective



verb (used with object), soused, sous·ing.

to plunge into water or other liquid; immerse.
to drench, as with water.
to dash or pour, as water.
to steep in pickling brine; pickle.

verb (used without object), soused, sous·ing.

to plunge into water or other liquid.
to be soaked or drenched.
to be steeping or soaking in something.


an act of sousing.
something kept or steeped in pickle, especially the head, ears, and feet of a pig.
a liquid used as a pickle.
Slang. a drunkard.

Origin of souse

1350–1400; 1915–20 for def 11; (noun) Middle English sows < Middle French souce pickled < Germanic (akin to salt1); (v.) Middle English sousen, derivative of the noun

Synonyms for souse

2. soak, wet.



verb (used without object), soused, sous·ing.

to swoop down.

verb (used with object), soused, sous·ing.

to swoop or pounce upon.

noun Falconry.

a rising while in flight.
a swooping or pouncing.

Origin of souse

1480–90; by-form of source in its earlier literal sense “rising” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for soused

Historical Examples of soused

  • I got soused to the waist before I had reached the bows of the boat.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • First she took it by the heels and plunged it in the river; then by the head and soused it in that way.

  • I warrant you,” she muttered, “he commended my soused cucumbers.

    The Lady of Loyalty House

    Justin Huntly McCarthy

  • It soused into the water, and I leaned forward to observe the splash.

    Seek and Find

    Oliver Optic

  • On Wednesday night the Wildcat soused himself with bay rum and musk.

    Lady Luck

    Hugh Wiley

British Dictionary definitions for soused




to plunge (something, oneself, etc) into water or other liquid
to drench or be drenched
(tr) to pour or dash (liquid) over (a person or thing)
to steep or cook (food) in a marinade
(tr; usually passive) slang to make drunk


the liquid or brine used in pickling
the act or process of sousing
slang a habitual drunkard

Word Origin for souse

C14: from Old French sous, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German sulza brine



verb (intr)

(often foll by on or upon) to swoop suddenly downwards (on a prey)


a sudden downward swoop

Word Origin for souse

C16: perhaps a variant of obsolete vb sense of source
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for soused

"drunk," 1610s, from past participle of souse (v.), on notion of one "pickled" in liquor.



late 14c., "to pickle, steep in vinegar," from Old French sous (adj.) "preserved in salt and vinegar," from Frankish *sultja or some other Germanic source (cf. Old Saxon sultia "salt water," Old High German sulza "brine"), from Proto-Germanic *salt- (see salt (n.)). Related: Soused; sousing.



something steeped in pickle, especially "pig parts preserved and pickled," mid-15c., earlier "liquid for pickling" (late 14c.), from souse (v.) or from its French source.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper