drunk as a lord/skunk

drunk as a lord/skunk

Extremely intoxicated. The first expression, known since the seventeenth century and considered a proverb by 1651 (“The proverb goes ‘As drunk as a lord,’ ” John Evelyn, A Character of England), is based on the idea that the aristocracy could and did indulge in drunkenness more than commoners did, presumably because they could afford to. The more recent drunk as a skunk, American in origin, undoubtedly became popular on account of its rhyme; it dates from the early 1900s. Both clichés have survived the demise of numerous other similes, among them drunk as an ape (from Chaucer’s time), tinker, fish, goat, owl, emperor, piper, fiddler (because he was plied with alcohol at wakes, fairs, and similar feasts), swine or pig, devil, beggar, blazes, David’s sow (based on an ancient anecdote explained in Francis Grose’s Classical Dictionary, and current from the seventeenth century), and others. See also drink like a fish; tight as a tick.
See also: drunk, lord, skunk