Imagine you had several beers, you are not yet drunk but you feel that your head is heavy, you know, feel good. Is there any specific word for that?

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    I recommend NOT saying, "Offisher, offisher, waymint now, I'm not, I'm not drunk, okay? but I could really ushum help holding up my head."
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 30, 2014 at 7:27
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    Forty years ago, the standard U.S. college term for this state was "a slight buzz."
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 30, 2014 at 7:39
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    “What should I say if I am not drunk but I feel that my head is heavy?” — One thing, and one thing only. “Another beer please, good sir.” Jun 30, 2014 at 10:51
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    @SvenYargs Buzz is still in use in the US. A common cautionary advertisement warns that Buzzed driving is drunk driving
    – bib
    Jun 30, 2014 at 12:17
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    The specific word for someone who has had several beers and is making a point to deny that they are drunk is "drunk" ;-) But it's an irregular formation: "I am fine to drive", "you are drunk", "he is paralytic", all refer to the same level of drunkenness. Jun 30, 2014 at 12:37

7 Answers 7


In British English this early level of inebriation is known as being tipsy:

Slightly drunk: tipsy revellers

Obviously its onset will vary across individuals, but in my personal experience the condition of tipsiness prevails in the two-to-four pint range. You're not drunk, but you've got that buzz, you're feeling merry and conversation is at its height of lucidity: the inhibition of sobriety is gone, but nobody's slurring their speech yet.

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    +1 Tipsy is the point where you have the choice to control your drinking or allow the drink to control you. After tipsy the beer takes over and you no longer have the ability to determine if you should have another pint or not. The answer to that question is always yes. Only the complete inability to speak, nod or raise your hand will prevent you from getting one more in.
    – Frank
    Jun 30, 2014 at 8:25
  • Thanks, then I think I can use a combination of tipsy and dizzy. I like tipsiness.
    – Amir
    Jun 30, 2014 at 8:34
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    @AmirMasoud I like tipsiness too :)
    – 568ml
    Jun 30, 2014 at 9:16
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    This is the same in American English. "Sober" -> "Tipsy" -> "Inebriated" -> "Drunk" -> "Smashed" is the approximate scale of alcohol.
    – Joe
    Jun 30, 2014 at 14:54
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    @Joe In Australian English we have more fine-grained levels of drunkenness: "Sober" -> "Tipsy" -> "Pissed" -> "Drunk" -> "Smashed" -> "Blind/Maggot/Blotto/Off his chops".
    – Anthony
    Jul 1, 2014 at 5:59

In addition to tipsy, the word "buzzed" also comes to mind. Might be an American thing.

More generally, you should consult a thesaurus for synonyms of the word "drunk". I'm sure there are plenty of options to choose from.

  • To me, "buzzed" conveys that slightly warm, merry feeling you get in this state better than "tipsy", which sounds more like you are so drunk you are about to tip over. Jul 1, 2014 at 18:01
  • +1 because buzzed (where I come from) frequently is used to describe that "feel good" feeling that the OP specifically mentions.
    – Josh
    Jul 1, 2014 at 19:04

Light-headed: Unable to think clearly or move steadily, for example during a fever or after drinking alcohol. Synonym: dizzy. e.g. The sun and the wine had made him a little light-headed. ... say Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.

Wikipedia also has a nice article about it, in addition to dizziness and presyncope.

However I think light-headedness would be the closest to what you mean, and it's hilarious to see they call it lightness in English where the same feeling in another language would be called heaviness!

Another word that might be better to use than light-headedness, is tipsiness.

tipsy: slightly drunk. [LDOCE]. tipsy: The state when you are drinking alchohol in which you are past light headedness but before being drunk. [TheUrbanDictionary]

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    Quite funny (at least from my (non-native speaker) point of view) to see that the question mentions "head is heavy" yet the answer is "light_headed".
    – SylvainD
    Jun 30, 2014 at 12:47
  • that is funny indeed! Jul 1, 2014 at 0:31
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    Funny but true eh! Jul 1, 2014 at 7:08
  • To me at least, light-headed is more like how you feel when you're ill, or when you haven't had enough to eat. It's not a pleasant feeling and I wouldn't describe mild drunkenness this way. Jul 2, 2014 at 6:31
  • @Nathan Interesting. I would think of the feeling you get when you're ill as having a heavy head, whereas the giddiness that comes with light intoxication I would definitely think of as light-headedness; in other words, the exact opposite of your associations. Jul 2, 2014 at 10:37

I think of

Mellow INFORMAL Relaxed and cheerful through being slightly drunk:

everybody got very mellow and slept well


As well as "tipsy", we sometimes say merry in the UK.


Good answers here, older words would include Tipsy, and Mellow, with the latter being not uncommon in Canada, though more so in the 70s and 80s. Mildly inebriated would be technical, and tipsy might not go down well in an all-male group. I wonder what a truly 2000s phrase would be?


For me the description of a heavy head is more of a tired feeling than that of being light-headed or tipsy. I'd probably say "Groggy" would be a stronger fit.

groggy: dazed, weak, or unsteady, especially from illness, intoxication, sleep, or a blow.

  • I would have used groggy for the feeling during a light hangover, so more related to "tired and slightly ill".
    – skymningen
    Jul 2, 2014 at 12:18

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