Tight = drunk

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue May 1 17:52:42 UTC 2007

>OED has this back to the 1830s, as will HDAS.

FWIW, "tight" is in Farmer & Henley ('drunk; full of liquor'), but
with the first cite only from 1867.  This cite seems to suggest that
at least for some it was reckoned as milder than 'tipsy':

1868. Bramleighs of Bishop's Folly.
'No sir, not a bit tipsy', said Harding, interpreting his glance.
'Not even what Mr Cutbill would call tight!'

>It was very frequent in America from the mid 19th C. on, though it
>sounds a little old-fashioned to me now. Unlike "high," it seems not
>to have extended its meaning to include drug intoxication.
>For "high," see HDAS.
Farmer & Henley also include "high" for 'drunk', but (unlike "tight")
as specifically "(American)".


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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