a bit whipsey

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Senior Member
Dear all
What's meant by "A bit whipsey" in the following context from "Manhattan Transfer" [1925] by Dos Passos:
Location: a diningroom in a lavish apartment somewhere in Manhattan, NY.
A prolonged ringing at the front door and the maid flurries back into the diningroom to inform "it's Mr. Joe sir." at the door.
"The hell it is."
"Well maybe he's all right," said Aunt Emily hastily.
"A bit whipsey, ma'am."
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    My first thought was that it is a variation of "tipsy" (slightly drunk). It appears from several clues in the following text (he has redrimmed eyes, halting speech, and staggers when he stands up)that Mr. Joe is, in fact, drunk so I think my guess is probably correct.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I agree with Myridon and JustKate about what it probably means, but it's not in urbandictionary.com. That means either that Dos Passos invented it, which is possible, or that it's fallen out of use in the last 80+ years. I suggest not using it if you want to be understood by most English speakers in 2012.
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