Monday, July 18, 2011

Three Sheets to the Wind - What Does this Mean?

Have you ever heard the expression that a person is "Three sheets to the wind"? It means that a person is very drunk. But where did this expression come from and what does it mean? Here's what I found out:

"To understand this phrase we need to enter the arcane world of nautical terminology. Sailors' language is, unsurprisingly, all at sea and many supposed derivations have to go by the board. Don't be taken aback to hear that sheets aren't sails, as landlubbers might expect, but ropes (or occasionally, chains). These are fixed to the lower corners of sails, to hold them in place. If three sheets are loose and blowing about in the wind then the sails will flap and the boat will lurch about like a drunken sailor.

The phrase is these days more often given as 'three sheets to the wind', rather than the original 'three sheets in the wind'.

Sailors at that time had a sliding scale of drunkenness; three sheets was the falling over stage; tipsy was just 'one sheet in the wind', or 'a sheet in the wind's eye'."

So there you have it. Now we have to figure out "What do you do with a Drunken Sailor early in the morning".



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