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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Last Chapter of the Drinker's Dictionary

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Tyoplenky: (slang) drunk, tipsy, snookered.

We've been having a good time for weeks now (Ekh, rebyata, khorosho gulyayem!), happily knocking them back (keryali, vmazali), and now we are in a delightful state of intoxication.

If someone is a little tipsy, and we are in polite company, we might say: On zaskochil k nam vecherom, slegka vypivshi, dolgo sidel i razvlekal nas anekdotami i baikami (He stopped in yesterday evening already a bit tipsy, stayed for a long time entertaining us with jokes and yarns). Or you can say, on byl v podpitii (under the influence), pod gradusom (pickled), pod khmelyom (intoxicated). All of these imply a moderate to heavy level of drunkenness, and might be translated as "besotted, tight, tipsy, stewed, or buzzed."

Among my favorite slang expressions are tyoplenky and gotovy, literally "warm" and "ready," which implies that drinking is like baking pirozhki , and the result is something hot from the oven.

If you are a teenager with a bad mouth, you might use some of the adjectival forms of words for "to get drunk," such as bukhoi ("blasted," from bukhat ) or zagashenny ("out" or "out like a light," from zagasit ), or daty, which is a short version of poddaty (something like "stewed" or "soused," from the word poddat ).

If you've really tied one on, you can say Ya napilsya do poteri pulsa, do poteri soznaniya (I was totally out of it, I was blotto -- literally, "to the point of no pulse," "to the point of unconsciousness"). There is an old expression still used sometimes: On napilsya do polozheniya riz, a reference to the vestments a priest wears. Linguists speculate about its derivation -- either it's a reference to the celebratory nature of a church holiday, or the propensity of Orthodox priests to tipple.

This isn't the only profession known for drinking, however. To describe a heavy drinker you can say On pyot kak sapozhnik (literally, he drinks like a boot-maker). In English we associate drinking with other professions and classes: He drinks like a sailor on shore leave, he drinks like a lord, etc.

For the truly drunk, Russian offers us a wealth of rather crude, but expressive ways to describe various unsavory results of a serious drinking bout. On napilsya v stelku (literally "like the lining of a shoe," smashed), v sosisku (literally "like a hot dog"), v zyuzyu (slurring drunk, bleary-eyed), v dym ("like smoke," steamed) , vdryzg (to the point of the runs). Crudely (but descriptively), you can say On napilsya v zhopu (He was drunk on his ass).

I've also noticed that there are national differences among alcoholics. The typical American alcoholic drinks all day, every day. This is the business executive with a bottle of gin in his filing cabinet, the unhappy housewife with bottles tucked in the laundry bin and linen closet, the cheerful drunk who pops a beer at 10 in the morning, downs a bottle of wine at lunch, and starts knocking back the scotch as soon as he opens the door at the end of the day.

But there is a certain kind of Russian drunk who can not touch a drop for weeks or months, and then: on ushyol v zapoi (He went on a bender, a binge, a jag, a drinking spree). And no one can drink po-chyornomu (literally "blackly") like a good Russian drunk. This kind of drinker is called zapoiny or zagulny, although the latter can also apply to a wayward husband, that is, a "good-time Charlie" who likes to hit the bottle and hit on girls.

With this kind of drunk, beware the day after: Ostorozhno s nim segodnya - on s boduna (Watch it with him today -- he's got a hangover). In English you can also say, "he's suffering from the morning after the night before" -- except in Russia it might not be the night before, but the fortnight before. In those situations, it's better to drinkovat, tresnut or prodolzhat banket (keep the party going).

As they say in Russian, Vypil s utra - ves den svoboden! (If you drink in the morning, you have the whole day off).

Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter.