As drunk as a lord

Discussion in 'English Only' started by europefranc, May 27, 2006.

  1. europefranc

    europefranc Senior Member

    Hi everybody,

    who knows the origin of the expression "as drunk as a lord"?

  2. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
  3. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
  4. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    This goes back to Restoration times when many titles were "honors" handed out for political or financial reasons-- no longer earned by swinging a blade or bringing down a large hammer on the heads of Welsh rebels or Saracens, at full gallop.

    People who gave and received wounds were drinkers, of course, but too busy for much of the time to treat drinking as an ongoing idle pastime, to get drunk and stay that way. People who inherited sinecures or were created baronets or viscounts had all the time in the world, and nothing more productive to do than taste the fruits of the vine and lose old family fortunes at cards.

    In the U.S., in typically ironic form, we say "sober as a judge" instead. Next time you're up before an American judge, check out his nose-- enlarged and rosaceous and splotched with varicose veins, is it not? Case proven and closed.
  5. moirag Senior Member

    English, England
    Reminds me of that old joke about the lad in court saying " Well, at the time I was as drunk as a judge". The judge asks him "Don´t you mean - as drunk as a lord?", and he answers "Yes, my lord":
  6. mjscott Senior Member

    I always thought that sober as a judge meant just that--sober and serious. But I'm here to learn along with everyone else.
  7. rtim New Member

    United States English
    Hi, everyone. I agree with mjscott--the expression "sober as a judge" is meant to indicate sobriey in the sense of seriousness, and is not to be taken as irony.
  8. gemsvssmeg New Member

    Sober as a judge is supposed to mean sobriety, but then surely the whole point is that things acquire meaning. And foxfirebrand is right, it is commonplace to see a judge ith a nose that is enlarged and rosaceous and splotched with varicose veins... so what once meant one thing, now means another... perfectly infers the corruption of, well, everything!

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