Is there another term for someone who cannot handle consuming large amounts of alcohol besides the term 'lightweight'?

  • 2
    'Lightweight' was the first thing that sprung to mind when I read the title to your question. 'Pussy' might be used sometimes but I'm not confident enough to put that as an answer!
    – rybo111
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:48
  • There may be a medical term for intolerance of alcohol, but usually in Britain, people just say he/she can't take much drink.
    – WS2
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:57
  • It would depend on what you mean by “can’t handle” and “large quantities.” Most alcoholics “can’t handle,” as in “can’t tolerate,” even one drink, but once past that first drink many “can handle” copious amounts, as in “can drink everyone else under the table,” hence the line “One's too many and a hundred's not enough” from ‘The Lost Weekend.’ Regardless of what you mean by "can't handle," “large quantities” is relative and therefore I’d propose “Someone who doesn’t know when to stop”; “S/o who doesn’t know his/her limits”; or “S/o who doesn’t have a hollow leg” (?/S/o with solid legs/?).
    – Papa Poule
    Sep 15, 2015 at 13:46
  • I've heard the term "thimble guts" -- the thimble referring to the quantity of alcohol needed to get that person to a state of drunkenness. I'm stunned to find Google comes up with as grand total of two relevant hits, though, so I'm putting this as a comment rather than an answer. I suspect it may be tightly regional (Canada, in this case).
    – Paul Drye
    Sep 15, 2015 at 14:16

2 Answers 2


"Can't hold their liquor" or "Can't handle their ale" are in common use in the UK.

Can't hold their drink/liquor

if someone can't hold their drink, they get drunk after drinking very little alcohol


  • Isn't "Can't hold their liquor" connected to throwing up?
    – npst
    Sep 15, 2015 at 12:42
  • See definition cited. I think it is used to cover all negative outcomes from overdrinking such as obvious drunkenness, loud stupid behaviour, vomiting and worse etc.
    – Marv Mills
    Sep 15, 2015 at 12:45
  • No its connected to literally not being able to hold ones glass 😀
    – robert
    Sep 15, 2015 at 15:54

Not single words (although I've seen the second one hyphenated), but “cheap drunks” and “two pot screamers” are people who are/become “easily in their cups"/easily drunk.

cheap drunk (from Urban Dictionary):

Someone who easily gets drunk. They could have 3 shots of a 40% strength alcohol and they're gone. The person is cheap because they don't have to spend as much money on alcohol to get drunk.

two pot screamer ‎(plural two pot screamers):

  1. (Australia, colloquial) One who becomes talkative or rowdy after consuming a relatively small amount of alcohol; one who quickly becomes intoxicated. (Wiktionary)

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