Scottish word of the week: Stocious

Scots have always been famed, for better or for worse, for their love affair with alcohol. Indeed, we have made a national pastime out of both producing it and consuming it.

Two members of the Tartan Army get stocious before a game against England at Wembley Picture: TSPL
Two members of the Tartan Army get stocious before a game against England at Wembley Picture: TSPL

Our ability to get drunk is nearly as legendary as our ability to produce drink, with some of our beers and our whiskies hailed as being among the best in the world.

It’s no surprise then that Scots have many, many words for describing the effects of over-imbibing, much in the same way we have many, many words for the amount of rain we endure.

It’s very rare Scots will actually say the word “drunk”, preferring to ensure those who we are regaling know what level of drunkenness we have achieved in either the previous night’s or weekend’s pursuits.

Stocious is perhaps the most elegant word available, a classier version of other popular words such as “steaming” or “guttered”.


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Pronounced as “stow-shus”, it really rolls off the tongue. 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. More specifically, it has roots in Hiberno-English, the English typically spoken in Ireland.

The classic definition of the word is to be in a very drunken state, somewhere perhaps above “gubbed” (though one step below “blootered”) and is usually at the point when one loses their sense of balance.

A good example of its use comes from the book The Sea of Bohemia by Nicholas Freeling: “Perhaps he was a bit stocious or perhaps it was the rather poor coordination G. had noticed earlier.”

A more common example would read something like: “I can’t believe Jimmy did that last night. We were all pretty drunk, but he was stocious by the time we had finished dinner,” or “I fell over last night in my stocious state and skint my knees.”