'Trousered' added to dictionary, thanks to Billy Connolly

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·Yahoo Life UK Reporter
·2-min read
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  • Billy Connolly
    Billy Connolly
    Scottish actor and comedian
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20:  Billy Connolly, winner of the Special Recognition award, speaks onstage at the 21st National Television Awards at The O2 Arena on January 20, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
Billy Connolly first used the term 'trousered' to mean drunk in 1977. (Getty Images)

The official Oxford English Dictionary (OED) website has made 'trousered' the latest edition to its long list of synonyms for 'drunk'.

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, 79, is credited with the first printed use of the term for being in a state of intoxication in a 1977 newspaper interview.

When discussing holding out for a drink (or many) until after his shows, he said, "After I've finished, I can get totally trousered along with the best of them. But I never touch the stuff before."

The definition now given to the term 'trousered' 45-years-later in the dictionary is "Slang (chiefly British and Irish English). Drunk, intoxicated."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20:  Billy Connolly attends the 21st National Television Awards at The O2 Arena on January 20, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
Billy Connolly attends the 21st National Television Awards at The O2 Arena on January 20, 2016 in London (Getty Images)

Jonathan Dent, the OED's revision editor, wrote in a blog post that the "colourful expression for being or becoming (very) drunk [was] apparently popularised by Glaswegian comedian Billy Connolly, and a feature of mainly British and Irish English since the 1970s". 

Katie Wild, the dictionary's executive editor, said the new addition had joined an extensive selection of English synonyms for becoming 'trousered'.

Read more: Billy Connolly admits he has begun to believe in life after death

"The newly added sense trousered meaning 'drunk' expands what is already one of the largest categories, drunk, which contains over 200 words: from Old English 'for drunken' through to late 20th century coinages such as 'wazzed', 'mullered', 'twatted' and 'bollocksed', and - now - 'trousered'," she said.

"And that's just the main category of drunk: if 200 or so synonyms aren't enough for your needs, there are many more specific terms in subcategories such as partially drunk, riotously drunk, and completely or very drunk."

Watch: Billy Connolly on dealing with Parkinson's disease

It's safe to say Connolly's days of getting 'trousered' are a thing of the past, with him being sober since 1985, after a near-disastrous night with Michael Cane. 

Read more: Sir Billy Connolly quit drinking after dangerous night with Sir Michael Caine

Neil Griffiths is also cited for the term 'trousered', as he used it in his 2021 novel Grits in relation to a drunk character.

In the online Collins English Dictionary, 'drunk', defined as 'someone who is drunk has drunk so much alcohol that they cannot speak clearly or behave sensibly', is given synonyms including 'loaded [slang, mainly US, Canadian]', 'tight [informal]', 'canned [slang]', as well as the more familiar 'wasted', 'smashed', 'hammered', 'wrecked' and 'sloshed'. 

Other new words added to the OED over the course of last year include (more worryingly), 'lateral flow', 'climate crisis', 'mass extinction', 'anti-vaxxer', 'social distance', (more importantly), 'ally', and (more lightheadedly}, the humble 'bants'.

Watch: Oxford Dictionary names multiple 'Words of an Unprecedented Year'

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