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The Drinker's Dictionary

The Drinker's Dictionary is a list of 228 "round-about phrases" to describe drunkenness. It was published on January 6,[1] 1737 (1736 Old Style) in The Pennsylvania Gazette.[2][3] The Pennsylvania Gazette publication is attributed to Benjamin Franklin and appears in his memoirs; however, a very similar wordlist appears in the New England Weekly Journal on July 6, 1736, and differences between the two suggest earlier origins by a different author.[4] Franklin deemed drunkenness as a vice that could never be a virtue, so various terms and phrases were created to mask the inappropriateness of the act.[5]


  1. ^ Levine, Harry (1981). "The Vocabulary of Drunkenness". Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 42 (11): 1046. doi:10.15288/jsa.1981.42.1038. PMID 7038310.
  2. ^ Benjamin Franklin; William Temple Franklin; William Duane (1859). Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 2. Derby & Jackson. p. 496.
  3. ^ From the Writings of Benjamin Franklin in the Pennsylvania Gazette 1736–1737 Archived 2008-09-07 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Berson, J. S. (2006). "The Source for Benjamin Franklin's "The Drinkers Dictionary" (And Was It Mather Byles?)". American Speech. 81 (2): 164–179. doi:10.1215/00031283-2006-011.
  5. ^ Levine, Harry (1981). "The Vocabulary of Drunkenness". Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 42 (11): 1046. doi:10.15288/jsa.1981.42.1038. PMID 7038310.


  • Franklin, Benjamin, Franklin, William Temple, Duane, William, Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin, volume 2, New York: Derby & Jackson (1859), p. 496.
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The Drinker's Dictionary
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