'Oot yer tree': 30 uniquely Scottish words to describe being drunk - and their origin

If you live in Scotland - or have Scottish relatives - then you will probably have heard these words being used before.

Picture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock

Our country’s reputation for drinking has a vocabulary to match, with many words to describe being worse for wear. But where do these terms originate? The North-east of Scotland provides plenty of Doric terms for those “awa’ wi’ it” or “stoatin’ aboot”, and some are shared with the North of England and Ireland. Here we look at 30 words that describe being drunk...

Scots for wandering aimlessly, which often describes how a drunk person will act.
Shares its origins with that of communities in the North of England.
This refers to when rum rations were cut and water was added to reduce the ABV.
A Doric, or north-east, phrase for being drunk.
First known use to describe being drunk was in the 60s.
Tanked refers to the drunk tank - a jail cell or separate place to keep drunk people until they sobered up.
This phrase dates from around 1900 and comes from the wide-eyed stare of a drunk person - with eyes as wide and blank as the top of a pie.
To do something clumsily or haphazardly, slang for drunk since the early 20th century.
Simple out of your tree, which is derived from the phrase out of your mind or, as it was known in the 19th century, out of one's gourd.
The origins of the word are not certain, but it is thought to have its roots in the cross-pollination of the Scots and the Irish language, which share a number of common colloquialisms.
This term means to fall or be unsteady - the action of knees buckling - a common occurrence when very drunk.
Scottish term for pissed.
Used as slang since the early 20th century but has roots in early America where teetotalers would hammer delinquency notices to the doors of well-known drunk people.
An Edinburgh or east coast term for being drunk. Also means to be very smelly, and is used in the north of England.
To be very drunk you end up in the gutter. From 18th century meaning: (of a candle or flame) flicker and burn unsteadily.
Scots for out the game or unable to participate anymore. Slang since the early 20th century.
A recent slang word for someone who is very drunk. Some believe that it describes when someone is so drunk they need push home in a shopping trolley.
It is thought this word originated around 1875 when sozzle meant a confused state or sloppy person.
A Doric or north east term for drunk.
Unknown why this phrase refers specifically to a rat but it come into use in the 1990s and was shorted to ratted or pissed as a rat.
Slang term since the early 20th century. To be so drunk you are bendy and sway about a lot.
In the early 20th century steamboat travel was popular and steaming originated from this time, referring to people who ended up drunk on the steamboats - hence steaming drunk which evolved into steamboats.
In Scottish English, 'ming' is an old word for a bad smell, but - like other Scottish words - can be used to describe a drunk person, a term that has been in use since the early 20th century.
This term has Irish roots as well as being used in Scotland.
It is thought this term came about around 1902 but plaster as a verb appeared in the 14th century to medically treat. Theories suggest being drunk/plastered means you feel no pain and are medicated.
In Doric sotter means a mess so to if youre in a state due to alcohol then you are sottered.
Something which is wrecked is defined as: broken, battered, faulty and has developed to mean drunk.
Goose is historically a term to describe a silly or foolish person; simpleton.
The definition of blooter is: a babbler, a bumbling idiot, a fool, which developed into the slang term blootered.
The words meaning has changed to encompass anything, or anyone, that has fallen into an irretrievable state of disrepair or damage.