I've found conflicting answers online. Does the word "inebriate" only apply to the effects of alcohol or also to the effects of cannabis, or any other intoxicant?

  • No. Do not used it for marijuana effects.
    – Jim
    Jan 16, 2020 at 22:30
  • You could use it for the effects of marijuana, because at bottom it's just another way to say intoxicate, but you'd still have to get around the decades or centuries of association with alcohol.
    – Robusto
    Jan 16, 2020 at 22:55
  • If inebriate comes from juniper, the source of gin, that's a strong association to alcohol. Jan 16, 2020 at 23:13
  • 1
    It would be a stretch to use the term for highs other than alcohol intoxication, but not wholly impermissible. Buzzed can refer to very mild intoxication on many substances, but especially cannabis. Stoned can refer to being high on a variety of substances, but in contemporary use is highly associated with cannabis. High is also available. Jan 17, 2020 at 3:03

1 Answer 1


Merriam-Webster gives two definitions:

to make drunk : INTOXICATE


to exhilarate or stupefy as if by liquor.

(But you should have searched that before posting.)

  • That's what the dictionary says, but, by itself, it does not answer the question. The words 'as if' in the dictionary definition allow the term to be stretched somewhat beyond the intoxication by alcohol, but they do not specify how far it can be stretched. What the OP wants to know is specifically whether they can be stretched to the effects of cannabis.
    – jsw29
    Jan 17, 2020 at 16:09
  • @jsw29, I don't get your distinction. If exhilarating or stupefying by a non-ethanol intoxicant doesn't fall within M-W's def. 2, then what other means of exhilarating or stupefying could? And if you read their def. 2 as addressing any metaphorical uses of "inebriate," then how could it NOT address literal intoxication just because the chemicals involved were other than ethanol? And anyway, their def 1 gives as a synonym "INTOXICATE," of which their 1st def reads, "to excite or stupefy by alcohol or a drug especially to the point where physical and mental control is markedly diminished" Jan 17, 2020 at 16:58
  • @PaulTanenbaum What you have here isn't a yes/no answer, Alec already said they searched online, repeating the definition here with no context doesn't help. At the very least you should summarize your comment and put that in the answer
    – Calvin Li
    Jan 29 at 18:48

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