three sheets to the wind


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three sheets to the wind

Also, three sheets in the wind. Drunk, inebriated, as in After six beers he's three sheets to the wind. This expression is generally thought to refer to the sheet-that is, a rope or chain-that holds one or both lower corners of a sail. If the sheet is allowed to go slack in the wind, the sail flaps about and the boat is tossed about much as a drunk staggers. Having three sheets loose would presumably make the situation all the worse. Another explanation holds that with two or four sheets to the wind the boat is balanced, whereas with three it is not. [Mid-1800s]
See also: sheet, three, wind

three sheets to the wind

verb
See also: sheet, three, wind

three sheets to the wind

Very drunk. Despite what it sounds like to nonsailors, a “sheet” isn't a sail. It's the rope that secures the sail's edge or corner to the mast or the vessel itself. A sheet that comes loose flaps erratically, much like a drunken sailor weaving his way back to the ship after a night's alcoholic revelry. Three sheets blowing in the wind would be even worse.
See also: sheet, three, wind
References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, down at The Woolpack they're aiming to get three sheets to the wind with a toga party.
A woman may be blotto, three sheets to the wind and strutting her stuff in a come-hither manner, but no man has a dispensation to interpret this behaviour as a guarantee of sex
A man has a few pints, goes home and tries to make something to eat - putting a chip pan on when you're three sheets to the wind is never a good idea.
And, presumably after someone's run up a tab at the bar, they'd be three sheets to the wind.
Soon we were three sheets to the wind and Sarah was swearing like a navvy.
In future, new legislation will force men to prove that sex was consensual even if the woman was three sheets to the wind, naked and swinging from the chandeliers.
Then there's the well-known three sheets to the wind - a nautical term.
It's no secret they're not his favourite people and he is easy to provoke when he's three sheets to the wind.
While this all helps, it's a sad reflection of the society we live in that a scantily clad female, three sheets to the wind, can't walk the streets without fear of attack at 4am.
Jeannie was laughing hard at my story of Jean Yves and said: "he's no Porsche salesman, he's not even French, his name's Dougie McTavish and he's three sheets to the wind.
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